Work Life Balance
How is it possible to achieve any semblance of work/life balance when we’re leading such busy, full on lives, perhaps managing insistent clients or bosses, caring for children, elderly or ailing family members, all demanding great chunks of our time and energy? And indeed, on occasion, we may have to park up our personal needs and wants to accommodate those times in our lives. But, if we’re constantly managing crises we may need to pause and examine if there are areas we need to address.
Let’s look at some tips to support a better work/life balance,
so enabling a better quality of life.
Are you a perfectionist, constantly editing, adjusting, adapting and checking? Do you loathe to train someone new to take on areas of your work, fearful that you may become dispensable or that they may do a better job? Satisfying bosses, customers and clients is important, but letting other people share the load can sometimes mean that they discover better systems and ways of working, freeing you up to undertake other tasks. Sometimes relaxing the need for perfection and being ‘good enough’, explaining the pressures you’re under and asking for help can allow others to appreciate how much you actually do. And may open the door for new skills training to enhance your capabilities.
When work is full on or there are no alternative solutions it’s important to ensure that you take good care of yourself during that period. Schedule twenty minutes for a relaxing bath, time with a book, listening to music or going for a pleasant walk. Let yourself disconnect for a while from the pressure.
It’s rare that everything you’re doing is equally urgent. Pay attention to how you’re using your time. Immac did a survey on how home-based women spent their time and found that they often made more trips to the shops for individual items, rather than making a one-off shopping list. They turned on the TV to watch the news and then became immersed in the next programme. It can happen all too easily but isn’t conducive to bringing the best balance into life. I’m a big fan of lists. Used well they can bring motivation, order and the ability to manage what we want and need to tackle during each day. And crossing items off the list can be incredibly satisfying!
Let people help at home. Children may not be as efficient as you when it comes to folding the laundry or setting the table, but let them feel supportive, included and responsible. Might there be some merit in hiring help with cleaning, ironing or gardening? The money spent may be more than worth the time you free up for other things.
It’s been established that taking breaks is an important commitment to health, wellbeing and a good work/life balance, often letting you return to tasks with a clearer head, better perspective and an improved way of looking at problems or concerns. Stopping for a ‘water-cooler’ break, a piece of fruit or a walk around outside allows you to switch off for a while, detach from the matter in hand and gain a fresher viewpoint. It may sound counter-intuitive when you’re under time pressure but, used well, breaks can be a great aid to efficiency.
Fun, family and friends are important in a work/life balance but if friends or family are becoming too demanding, guilt-tripping you into doing things that you find pressuring, unpleasant or excessive it may be necessary to learn how to say ‘no’ in a firm way. ‘Yes’ can become the most negative word in our vocabulary if we’re agreeing to things we can’t or don’t want to do, whilst ‘no’ can become the most positive when used to reclaim our life, time and balance.
Try to switch off at a set time each day. Turn off technology. Don’t be tempted to intermittently check your email or social media. Instead allow yourself to enjoy connecting with family, friends and yourself.
You should find that your mood, quality of sleep and overall happiness levels improve as a consequence.
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