Establishing a good work/life balance can at times feel like we are juggling several balls whilst at the same time hopping from one foot to another; it’s difficult, but not impossible. Let’s look at some tips to support a better work/life balance and so enable a better quality of life.
– Many people feel under pressure because of their work commitments. Whether they are in an employed position or are self-employed there is always the ongoing pressure to be seen to be doing a good job, to justify one’s salary whilst hopefully doing something that is satisfying and rewarding. If work becomes too stressful it’s important to address those concerns, by asking for help, delegating, retraining or considering other options.
If no viable options are available it may be necessary to look outside work and find fulfillment in other ways; some people find enjoyment in absorbing hobbies and interests, others undertake courses or volunteer work.
– Prioritize what needs to be done. This is useful in managing time, distracting thoughts and enables a clearer focus as to what is reasonable to achieve within a day. Writing a list or maintaining a diary can be a help. Aim to finish work at a reasonable time and if new priorities occur reorganise your list. Spend a few minutes writing clear notes as to where you’re up to and what’s been actioned up to date. This saves time when the piece of work is able to be revisited.
– Delegating tasks is an important part of involving everyone in what needs to be done. At work or home, with family, friends or colleagues, asking for help means sharing the load and allows others to learn new skills and become more responsible. From setting the table, booking tickets for a night out or collating data for an important report, delegating is an important part of allowing others to help, share and take ownership of what’s happening in their lives.
– Breaks are an important part of a healthy work/life balance. Working continuously without a break eventually causes a person to become over-tired, stressed and irritable. Taking regular breaks for healthy food, drink, fresh air, idle conversation and fun allows some quiet time away from the work station, provides time to relax, let go and have a breather. People often return to work feeling more motivated and refreshed.
– Fun is an important reward for hard work. It’s important to enjoy work, to feel recognised, rewarded and satisfied by what we do. At times work may be stressful and require us to move out of our comfort zone. And, indeed some stress is good for us, it enables us to discover skills and capabilities that we may not have appreciated we had until now.
But fun also provides a break from the demands of work and perhaps other areas of life, like family responsibilities. Fun can include exercise, which is an important way to de-stress. Also think of quality ‘me’ time, like listening to music, reading a good book, enjoying a relaxing soak in the bath.
Learning to recognise our own signals for times when life is becoming out of balance is an important first step in becoming more vigilant about taking better care of ourselves. Begin to recognise that becoming irritable, having poor concentration, disturbed sleep, being less interested in people or things that usually absorb us are all signs of an out of balance work/life situation. Time then to implement some changes.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to help improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
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