Steps you can start to take today to improve your work/life balance
Ian Geddes and Susan Chan
Most of us choose to work. Most of us have to work to achieve the lifestyle we aspire to. Again for many of us we will work for a large part of our lives. There are many positive benefits to working including social, our relationships, mental, physical, emotional and financial. For some of us if we are in a good job which we enjoy, we benefit in all these areas. However when we are in a job that we don’t enjoy and don’t find a work/ life balance, we experience negative effects in all of these areas.
What are the risks associated with an imbalance? There are four key areas to consider:
- Your health.
- Your family
- Your friendships
- Your effectiveness
‘…never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life…’ source unknown
Our identity is often defined by our work, so it is important that we enjoy it and find a suitable balance between life and work.
So what can you start to do today to make that improvement? Here are a few work/life balance tips that may help you to manage your life more effectively:
These themes can be read in more detail in our book, ’A Mindful Compassionate Guide to a Happier Life’. We also have a bespoke course that tackles the challenges of gaining work/ life balance
Identify your priorities in life. The things you find important in life will become apparent to you when you change the way you think about your life. Life is very precious. Make time for the thing you really love and value. These things will be different for everyone, but they will all have the same result…. a happier you!
Make a plan. Once you have identified your highest priorities in life, make a plan for action. Make sure that you incorporate your management of time. Time is a finite resource, we have a certain amount and that is it. So really it is your most valuable asset and the thing that should be at the front of your mind when it comes to achieving a good work/life balance. Prioritise and manage time more effectively, allowing you to make time for yourself.
Dealing with stress and learning how to relax. Stress is real. It affects us emotionally and physically. Our blogs regularly cover what you can do to cut the causes of stress as well as taking steps to reduce the damage that it can cause.
Technology can have a positive or negative effect on your life. You need to decide the right time to address work voice mails, text messages and emails. Being ‘plugged-in’ all of the time erodes your personal life and it can hamper your effectiveness at work if you are constantly checking emails and answering phone calls. However, technology can offer the advantage of working from home to help both your personal and professional responsibilities. It is a balancing act.
Reflection activity: how to manage your lifestyle (adapted from the book, ’A Mindful Compassionate Guide to a Happier Life’ by Ian Geddes and Susan Chan
- Take control. Make decisions and gain some power.
- Never take your personal life and family for granted.
- Be choosy. Adjust your work and life balance according to their value to you and not just what your employer demands.
- Know your limits. Talk them over at work, after all it is only work!
- Review your situation every 3 months. Review your priorities.
- Allow space in your life. Stop and relax. Dedicate time for yourself every day.
- Contemplate whether it is really all about money?
- Don’t follow routines that are only there through habit. Allow your brain to be re-programmed to challenge these and find out what would improve situations, allowing you to thrive.
- Accept that your life has many parts and be mindful towards them all.
- Don’t be addicted to your work? What are you trying to avoid?
- Be unavailable by telephone, pager or email for a part of each day and for at least one day a week. This will allow you to appreciate all aspects of your life.
- Recognise that you need to look after yourself. Only then can you look after others. If you are healthy in mind, body and spiritually, then you will be happier. Show compassion
- Practise relaxation, self-care and mindfulness with self-compassion every day
- Remember you can say no! Why should you do something you don’t want or like?
- Re-evaluate your perspective on life.
- Remember the most that you can ever give is 100%.