Achieving A Successful Work Life Balance
Your career is an important part of your life – it helps you to pay off your bills and provides you with a sense of purpose. If you often find yourself forgetting that your work is just a small part of your life, you’ll find yourself in good company. While your career may influence many aspects of your life, it shouldn’t rule supreme. It’s essential to find the right balance between work and play.
Defining Your Work/Life Balance
The work/life balance refers to the amount of time you devote to your work versus the time you devote to the many other aspects of your personal life. Your work/life balance is likely to be different to that of your colleagues and will vary throughout your life, depending on your priorities. If you're just starting out in your career and have a strong desire to climb up the career ladder, your work life is likely to be your main priority while if you’ve recently experienced the joys of parenthood, your family life is likely to be your main focus. Regardless of your priorities, it's vital to create and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Understanding the Importance of a Work/Life Balance
Regardless of your age and occupation, the need to unwind from work is crucial. If you don’t achieve a work/life balance, you’ll be at risk of burning yourself out. This could potentially affect your ability to perform well in the workplace and could prove costly, particularly if you end up facing dismissal. A lack of a work/life balance can add to your high stress levels, which could cause physical and psychological problems if left unchecked.
Achieving a Better Work/Life Balance
The first step to successfully achieving a healthy work/life balance is to take the time to think about the demands on your professional and personal life. If you're a workaholic, it’s likely that you’ll have very little free time to spare outside of your working life. You should therefore make a conscious effort to establish a set of rules that help you to address this issue and strike the right balance.
Organise Your Time
Organisation is the key to achieving a work/life balance. If you’re able to organise your time, you’ll be better able to work productively, which will provide you with the chance to leave your workplace earlier than you usually would.
Make the Most of Your Annual Leave
If you’ve forgotten the pleasure that two weeks in a faraway destination can bring, making good use of your annual leave is a must. Time away from your workplace can provide you with some much needed rest and relaxation and may help to boost your productivity on your return.
Reclaim Your Lunch Break
If your lunch break involves eating a sandwich at your desk while writing out emails, it’s time to reclaim your lunch break. Leave your workplace at least once a week and take the time to enjoy your lunch in a relaxing surrounding.
Switch Off Your Smartphone
Smartphones may help you to complete essential tasks on the go but can destroy your work/life balance. If you find yourself checking your emails in the middle of the night, aside all technology to safeguard your physical and mental health.
Request Flexible Working Hours
Your employer is obliged to consider offering flexible working hours if you’re a parent to young children but they do not need to do so unless you specifically ask them to. Smart employers understand the importance of offering flexible working hours, but if yours needs convincing, highlight the benefits of improved staff retention and reduced absenteeism.
Consider Working from Home
Working from the comfort of your own home may seem like a godsend if you loathe the early morning commute and enjoy working in solitary confinement. With virtual offices trending across the UK, there’s no better time to broach your employer with regards to working from home. If you’re easily distracted and love a good gossip, however, think carefully before asking to change your working environment.
Draw Up a Work/Life Balance Charter
If you’re an employer, establish a work/life balance charter for your staff. Ensure your staff understand their responsibilities and are able to recognise when they are overworking. Make long days an exception rather than a rule and identify staff at risk of overworking.
Recognising Your Achievements
Finding the right work/life balance doesn’t have to be a challenging task. Whether you end up doing more or less as a result of your efforts, you’ll know you’ve successfully achieved the right balance when you feel your mood has improved, your stress levels have eased, you’re able to spend more time with your loved ones without feeling guilty and feel content with your life in general.