10 Top Tips for Creating a Better Work-Life Balance
How can you give your wellbeing a boost along with your career? Being pulled in two directions can be hard. What can we do to create that all elusive ‘work-life balance?’
10 Tips to Try Today
Here are ten tips that you can work with:
- Work smarter, not harder. The Mental Health Foundation statistics found that when working long hours 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious and 58% feel irritable. These tips should provide some ideas on how to be more productive, rather than working longer. It is not just down to how many hours you are spending at work, but the work you are achieving during those hours. So, tip number one. Do not just focus on how many hours you are at work.
How, though can we arrange our working day to be more productive?
- Email. This has been a bone of discussion for years. Honestly, how often do we just check the inbox? Quickly flitting between screens, we have a little peak, then minutes pass or we start to action an email before we have even looked at starting our working day.
A growing number of influencers are now very vocal in the approach of scheduling their email. Setting it as another task, allocating the time within your working day. You can also try putting on a timer and allocating specific times of your day to read and action all email. Put this as part of your daily plan, it will stop you falling down the email rabbit hole quite so frequently, and also allow you the headspace to focus on the task at hand.
- Social Media. Again, another area where we lose minutes, if not hours a day! Setting limits, either again by a timer or even one of the many apps available will certainly free up not only time but also sending you to the many tangents that certain posts, pins and videos can take us.
- Ask for help. If you are trying to juggle all aspects of a task or project, there is no shame in reaching out to colleagues. The attitude of ‘having to do it all; is the one that often leads to high levels of stress.
In a working environment of collaboration and teamwork, this is a real game-changer. Working together to complete projects should be a goal for all organisations, big and small.
- Getting Organised. If you are in the enormous juggling situation of family commitments and work pressures, being on the ball can feel like a never-ending cycle. Getting your family members and yourself as organised as possible can alleviate some of this pressure. Prepare your kids bags and pack lunches the night before. Make sure you are prepped for presentations and your work bag is ready before leaving the house. These little steps can help to decrease anxiety and you will then be able to focus on the task at hand. Personally, I find a To-Do List, my daily saviour. I use 1 column for work the other for home. There is also a lot of satisfaction in ‘ticking off’ items!
- Over Deliver & Under Promise. Be honest about how long a task will take, or how quickly you can respond to a request. Setting these boundaries with colleagues, clients and family enable you the time and space to plan in your day. If you say ‘Ill send you a reply in 24 hours’, everyone knows where they stand. If you manage to reply before that time, then the recipient is delighted. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than being promised a response, call back or piece of work that you then have to chase!
The same applies to family, do not say ‘yes’ until you know you can actually deliver. Family, especially children rely on parents to be honest about what they can, and cannot do. It is far better to say ‘I can’t get to your sports day’ than say "yes, I'll be there" and then you cannot make it.
- Draw a line. Work time and family time often overlap. With most of us being able to access work via technology at home we are often found trawling through emails at home. Try to create a distinction between the two.
You may want to discuss this at work, a simple policy of ‘I do not respond to emails after 6 pm’ for example enables us to set a clear line of expectations for both work and home. It also fits in beautifully with the previous point of our delivery promise.
- The power of “No”. We all feel that pressure of having to say ‘yes; to everything. If you are always the ‘yes’ person at work or home, then try this simple technique. Just take a pause before you say ‘yes’. This can simply provide us with a moment to ask, ‘do I have the capacity, time or skill to complete what has been asked?’ If not, then harness the power of saying ‘No’. It might not be an easy thing to start but it is far better to begin to say no to tasks than take on too much, at home or work that will lead to unnecessary pressure. This is about our balance, sometimes something has to give.
- Celebrate the wins. Whether at work or at home, acknowledge the ‘new client’ or attending the school concert. The juggle for us all is hard, so take your wins where you can, you are even allowed a pat on the back!
- Be Present. We are becoming more aware of how Mindfulness can be used in all aspects of our lives. Many of us, spend more time at work than anywhere else. Take the time to enjoy where you are, the people you are with, the clients you see, the skills you learn and the role that you play. Your work role is a part of who you are, embrace that aspect of yourself and try and spend some moments at work being present. This is especially vital when you are anxious, stressed or feeling under pressure. Being able to take a moment out of our day to pause can help us physically, emotionally and mentally.
The work-life juggle will carry on. The key is to be aware that it is a ‘balance’. When you are out of balance, there is inevitably disruption. The balance will be different for everyone, but working towards a sense of our own ‘wellbeing’ will ultimately benefit both our home and work lives.
If you would also like to pick up more tips on how you can be more Mindful at home then the 10 Top Tips for Mindful Parents is one to have a read of. Or for those who like to really get their teeth into something, why don't you check out my book which has 40 techniques to share with your children. It is easy to read and even available on Kindle too!