How can I get a better work/life balance?

How can I get a better work/life balance?

Do your holidays never seem long enough? Are you starting to forget what your nearest and dearest look like? If work’s always on your mind, you need to get some balance between work and home life. These are the heavyweight solutions to tipping the scales, and making life a little easier all round:

  • Leave work at work
  • Work smarter, not harder
  • Learn to say no
  • Make the most of your free time

Leave work at work

Is work following you out of the office? If you can, try not to read or reply to emails when you’re at home. Set a cut-off time each evening when you’ll stop looking at your inbox and stick to it. Ask someone in your family to remind you, when you’re peeking at your laptop, tablet or phone.

Ignoring emails is a start, but if you’re always thinking about work you’ll never really feel relaxed. And if you work from home it can be even harder to forget about what’s been going on during the day. If you can, take a few minutes to clear your mind with something completely different – perhaps take a quick walk – at the end of the day.

Work smarter, not harder

If there never seem to be enough hours in the day, is it because you’ve got too much work or not enough structure? Plan your day. Set a time limit for each task, do the most important work first. And if you don’t finish the small stuff, don’t worry about it. When you get stuck on something, move onto the next and pick it up again later.

Learn to say no

It’s tempting to say ‘yes’ to everything your boss asks of you, but in the long run you could be overloading yourself with work and impressing no one. Saying ‘no’ occasionally will keep your workload more manageable - and it feels good too. Be polite. If you’re not sure about confrontation, say ‘Can I get back to you on that?’ – give yourself time to consider why and how to say no.

Make the most of your free time

If your social life has taken a dive, pick a night to meet your friends – and go! Don’t put off fun. Take your partner out for a meal. Go for a walk with your children. Do something you enjoy, that doesn’t involve work and divert your mind to a completely different subject. Sometimes you need to make time for the things you love.

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