by Simon Lythgoe
Around two thirds of British employees are not happy with their work-life balance. So, if you feel similarly disenchanted then you’re not alone. Recent research found that many of us feel we just don’t have enough hours in the day to accommodate career progression as well as activities and relationships at home. However, achieving a positive work-life balance isn’t impossible – there are some simple steps you can take to start improving it right now.
1. Don’t take work home with you
Even if you don’t physically take work home with you, technology today means that we’re constantly connected and you can still be working long after you’ve left the office. However, if a work-life balance is important to you then you need to start being tough with yourself and not taking work home. So, don’t answer emails once you’ve left the office, let calls go through to voicemail and write a To Do list at the end of the day so that you can let go of everything that needs to be done the next day before you leave.
2. “No” is not a dirty word
It’s hard to say no to someone who needs help, or to a boss that you’re looking to impress. However, being able to say no is crucial to ensuring that you have a positive work-life balance. If someone asks for help, pause and make sure you really do have the time to help before saying yes. If your schedule is too full say no – it’s better to do that than not have the time to do something properly.
3. Give personal time space in your diary
Employers today are beginning to recognise that employees who have achieved work-life balance are actually more productive and engaged than those who are stressed and overworked. So, you have permission to plan personal time in a way that makes it as much of a priority as your work tasks. If it helps, add this to your diary so that you have scheduled self-care, personal time or time off in a way that makes it as much of a priority as the rest of what you need to do.
4. Learn the art of working smart
Wasting time in pointless meetings, getting stuck reading endless emails, poor prioritising and procrastination are just some of the issues that can make it difficult to achieve a work-life balance. Say no to anything that is a clear waste of your time, from meetings you don’t really need to be at to Skype calls where you’re not really required. Learn to prioritise tasks and set deadlines for yourself. And when you have a project or task, block out the time to complete it so that you don’t constantly get distracted.
5. Give your mind and body time to relax
There are many obvious signs that your work-life balance is currently off, from not being able to sleep to suffering with problems like anxiety. Start finding ways to help your body and mind switch off more effectively when you’re not at work if you want to get the most from a working day. That could be taking up a new sport, learning to meditate or just putting all devices away at least two hours before bed.
Prioritising your work-life balance could have a transformative impact on how you perform at work, as well as the way that you feel about the rest of your life.