Having a positive work/life balance can feel like a near impossible aim, we can also feel powerless when attempting to shift this balance.
Today’s working environment is often focussed on giving more of ourselves and we can feel that our lives outside of work are not taken into account – in reality every one of us has a home and social sphere to negotiate as well as a career.
Work/life balance is a fluid thing, what works as a good balance one month may be unsuitable the next. It is for this reason that the ‘perfect’ work/life balance is the one that is consistently being attended to.
One of the difficult parts of this process is knowing where to start, below are some suggestions of what you can do to start investigating and improving your personal work/life balance.
Read your employer’s policies – Find out what is in place to protect your working hours, allow for appropriate time off and support you with flexible working procedures.
Clear communication – If your colleagues and management aren’t aware of your boundaries around working, it is almost impossible for them to respect them effectively. Let them know when you are dealing with things outside of work that may affect your availability or performance.
Try something different – If possible, give working from home one day a week a try. If you are performing well but feel like your home life is suffering this simple change can make a big difference.
Protect your time – Just as you are likely strict about getting to work on time, be equally strict with leaving on time.
Switch off – When you leave the office and your working hours are over, turn off any work related technology. This will help your mind switch off from work too and your leisure time will become more fulfilling.
Just say no – Many of us who have a poor work/life balance are those that find it hard to turn down offers for extra work or favours from colleagues. Saying no may make you feel guilty at first but remember that saying no to someone else is like saying yes to respecting your own time.
Be curious about your time in work – Pay close attention to your day at work. What works for you and increases your productivity? What really stops you from getting on? Answering these is a great way to relieve the pressure felt during the day.
With all the above suggestions, talking to someone else about what you are trying to do can be vital. It is hard not to understand that someone would like to work on getting the most out of life. A well balanced employee is far more productive than one being run into the ground.
Both CiC’s Adviceline and Managerial Adviceline can be a really helpful place to have that first conversation about understanding your balance.