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If you find yourself dreading work in the morning and counting down to the weekend as soon as you set foot in the office Monday morning, chances are you may need to address your work-life balance. Here are eight tips to make sure you even out the scales.
Leave work at work
This a classic piece of advice that almost everyone knows but very few of us follow. Leaving work at work is not an idea, it’s an action. It means turning off emails on your phone, not answering any work phone numbers and keeping post-work de-briefs with your partner to the absolute minimum. It takes practice but you’ll feel so much freer when you get it nailed down.
Plan for retirement
This sounds pre-emptive but planning for retirement is a great way to put the focus back on your life outside of work. If you’re thinking of buying a boat, go sailing and scout out a potential harbour; if you’re planning on moving abroad, give yourself a few weekend trips a year to go location hunting. Planning for retirement gives work context and helps you enjoy your free time.
Working long hours makes 58% of employees feel irritable, 34% feel anxious and 27% feel depressed. The answer? Don’t work harder, work smarter. The equation for work (according to academic Matt Might) is: output of work = unit of work per hour x hours worked. That doesn’t mean you work more hours, it means you do more unit of work per hour - so, cut down on office chit-chat, set yourself a time limit per task and try to reduce unnecessary meetings.
Book ‘me-days’ off work
Everyone needs time off to relax and hit their reset buttons - you don’t need to wait for a special occasion like a holiday or birthday to make that happen either. Book yourself an occasional Friday to have some quality time by yourself and recuperate from a hard stint at work.
Have a no-screen evening
Working behind a screen all day and then spending the rest of your waking hours behind one is not a good idea. Obviously, it’s nice to watch a movie or binge a television series every now and then, but make sure you have some time off-screen. A good way to enforce this rule with yourself is to allocate one evening a week to be completely screen-free. Not easy at first, but worth it in our books.
Take your full lunch break
Your lunch break is the most underestimated free time in your week. We know it can seem like there are too many things to do in the day but you’ll get more done when you give your brain a break from work. You can learn a language, start that book you never get around to reading, or go for a run - the choice is yours.
Get a job you love
The ultimate rule of getting a good work-life balance is getting a job you love, as it helps to blur the lines between the two. If you love your job, you more than likely have an interest in it on a more personal level. Life is too short to spend over half your time doing something that doesn’t interest you.
Have a good sleep routine
Getting enough sleep can directly improve your mood and concentration levels. Not only does this make things easier at work but it will also give you the get-go to do some things in the morning. Make sure you catch your zzz’s by only spending time in bed when you are ready to sleep and turning off all your screens for at least 30 minutes before you get under the sheets.
Having a healthy life-work balance can be a juggling act, but don’t lose hope. The only way to make it happen is to take back control of your time by making specific changes to your routine. Start with our eight tips and you’ll be whistling all the way to work in no time.