In this day and age, the continual development of technology and smart devices means that there’s an increasingly blurred line when it comes to separating our work lives and our personal lives. We have our emails constantly in the palm of our hands thanks to our smartphones and we, as individuals, are more accessible than ever before.
This means it can be hard to get away from work which, ultimately, can have detrimental effects on our personal lives, not to mention our health. If you’re struggling to find a happy medium, here are five ways to have a better work/life balance.
Learn to prioritise
Ever heard of the term “eat the frog”? It basically means just do it. Mark Twain once said that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you can rest assured knowing that that’s probably the worst thing you’re going to have to do all day and it’s already done. The same goes for your work. Prioritise the biggest work or most important tasks first – eat them frogs. Then, if you don’t get some of the smaller, less urgent tasks done by the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world.
Have strict work hours
Whether you go into an office and already have contracted hours, or you work from home and have to set your own, make sure you have specified work hours and that you stick to them. If you prioritise right, as in our first point, then there should be no need for you to work late into the night. Work hard during the day, taking plenty of short breaks in between, then make a point of clocking out at the time that you should. What’s done is done, anything that isn’t can wait until tomorrow.
Use your annual leave
Holidays are so important for your health and wellbeing. It does you so much good to stick your “out of office” on and jet off to somewhere relaxing and sunny, so never waste your annual leave entitlement. Even if you can’t go abroad at the minute for whatever reason, take the time to get out to the countryside and enjoy a bit of fresh air and green space in your own country. If you live in the city and don’t have any way of getting about, find a way! If you work in the capital, you can easily get car rentals in London, for example, and escape to the coast for a few days.
One of the best things you can do to learn to re-establish the right work/life balance is to go unplugged. Go onto the settings on your phone and change it so that all your notifications stop at a certain time of night. Maybe have airplane mode or ‘do not disturb’ come on at 8 or 9pm, then don’t touch your phone again until the morning. No switching your laptop on, no answering calls, nothing. Use this period to spend quality time with your family, read a book or just get a proper night’s rest before you start again tomorrow.
Find time for yourself
Aside from your holidays and annual leave, it’s important to find time for yourself day to day too. Always make sure to factor breaks into your working day, try and find time to work out and make sure that you’re not getting so engrossed in work that you forget to eat, sleep and drink properly. The better you feel in yourself, the more motivated you’ll feel when it comes to doing your work and, therefore, the more productive you’ll be. In turn, this will work in your favour when you get more done at work during the day and it stops eating into your personal time.
Try out these tips for a better work/life balance and enjoy a happier, healthier and more productive you.