8 changes you can make to improve your work/life balance
May 29, 2019 - 2 minutes read
Posted by Claire Parker
Even with the best intentions, we’re all capable of letting our work/life balance run over. It’s a tough game to master, but there are steps you can take to tip the scales in your favour; here are eight.
1. Stop doing it all yourself
You might think you can handle everything, taking the burden of the entire workload and lugging it over the finish line yourself. You might even be right, after all we’re all more capable and resilient than we often realise. What you can’t do, is all the work by yourself, consistently, without incurring a negative impact elsewhere in your life. Prioritise, delegate and allow those that you trust to help you.
2. Ask yourself if it’s as urgent as you think
Deadlines are important, but sometimes we imbue tasks with urgency that simply doesn’t exist. Be honest – can it wait? If so, sometimes you should let it. Allowing some things to rest on the back burner while you get on with what’s actually necessary, or take a well earned break, can do wonders for your stress levels.
3. Know your boundaries
If you’re not setting yourself clear boundaries between life and work, between one task and another, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It can feel uncomfortable drawing a line when other people aren’t; just know that as long as you remain considerate of other people’s time and the work at hand, you will all benefit in the long run.
4. Give yourself some breathing room
Don’t take on too much. There will always be unexpected events that require some time and attention, so make sure that when they crop up, you have the time available for them. Develop a realistic understanding of how long your common tasks take, and allow yourself a time buffer to tackle any surprises.
5. Stop reacting, start planning
If you don’t allow yourself time to think and you don’t have time to plan, you’ll likely find yourself acting in a reactive manner that’s stressful and inefficient. By introducing formal time blocks dedicated to thinking and planning into your daily routine, you’ll protect yourself from meeting challenges with no preparation and nothing but cortisol to get you through.
6. Don’t get stuck in the past, or the future
Don’t worry, you don’t need to build a flux capacitor or buy a DeLorean. It’s as simple as focusing on the moment and giving your attention to the task at hand. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of constantly worrying about the last thing, or the next thing; by teaching yourself to recognise when you’re doing this and work on snapping out of it, you’re on the right path.
Seriously. Get some sleep. When it’s been a long day and you force yourself to keep working into the night, even though you know you’re going to be up early, all you’re doing is exhausting yourself. Sleep deprivation will quickly accumulate and seriously affect your decision making ability as well as your productivity.
8. Do unto yourself as you would have yourself do unto others
Love thy neighbour, by all means, but don’t forget to love yourself. It can’t always be about you, but you need to carve out time when you can make yourself the priority. You can’t support another person or a business if you’re burnt out; so if you really want to be selfless, do something for yourself.