Achieving a good work-life balance
Work-life tips, for a happy balanced lifestyle
If you or one of your employees are looking for a new job, it may be that you're not particularly satisfied with your current one. But is it the job, or just your current state of work-life balance leading you to seek greener grass?
Before making a big decision, we recommend trying to make sure you and your employees have a good work-life balance to ensure that's not your catalyst for moving. So here's our advice on how to achieve it:
Your ideal week
It's easy to get sucked into a routine, but stop and think about what your ideal week would look like. What time would you like to be getting up each morning? How many hours would you spend at work or on the road? And how much of your week would you like to devote to leisure time? Compare that to what your week looks like at the moment. Some big differences?
If so, draw up a new, workable plan that compromises between the two, keeping the most important elements of each, and leave everything else up for negotiation. Maybe you'll get two lie-ins per week rather than five, but you might be able to leave early one day a week to do the school run or follow other personal interests. Once you have what you believe is a practical plan that you can talk to your employer about, book in a meeting with them.
Take personal responsibility
The only person who's going to make a difference to your work-life balance is you, so if you want to make a change, you have to instigate it and put your case forward. You may be surprised to know that your employer values you more than you realise, so may consider small adjustments to your working week if it means they retain your services.
The important thing when asking for a change in working pattern is to be business-like about it: you're not asking for something for nothing, make it clear what you will be contributing by way of increased productivity, etc. following your proposed changes.
Sometimes you may be able to make more time for yourself simply by working smarter. Some simple techniques are dedicating specific times to checking emails, not reading them as soon as they pop up and allowing them to interrupt whatever you're working on. Allocate a certain amount of time to tasks, and don't allow yourself to go over it. Sometimes a job doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to get done. If you are too busy to take that call, arrange a time to call back. Stick to your own plan and don't let others distract you from it.
It's also really helpful to diarise everything. Certain appointments may be set, so slot in everything else around that. Book in time to get your head down and work, time for catching up on admin, time for breaks, and even time to go home!
You might not realise how much of a difference they make, especially if you're a bit of a workaholic. But breaks don't need to be big. A quick turn around the block, or a sit down with a cup of tea away from your desk can work wonders at recharging the batteries, giving you renewed focus, and relaxing your brain and body. When you come back to your desk you may have considered a new idea, or spot a mistake in something you've just been pouring over for the last three hours. You'll be surprised!
Drawing the line – take work home?
You might think you have a good work-life balance if you do work at home rather than at a work location. But how good are you at keeping to specific working hours at home, or even on holiday? Do you check emails at weekends? Do you do ten minutes' work here and there that sometimes lasts a couple of hours? And how do any significant others you live with feel about that? Give yourself set working hours, and make sure those are communicated accordingly. Then make sure you switch off properly in your down time.
Leisure and exercise
We all have something we like doing, whether it's playing squash, cooking a good meal, relaxing in front of the TV, or spending time with our friends or family. But do you do as much of it as you'd like? If you want to make sure you get time for them, schedule them in, and then respect that time. If it's once a week, once a month or even once a year, it will be much easier to put off if it isn't scheduled in with the same importance as your work commitments. Leisure pursuits are also great for keeping a healthy body and mind, leading to increased productivity.
Following these tips should mean you're able to lead a more balanced and happier lifestyle. But if something still isn't working for you, then maybe it is time to consider moving on, and our team of expert consultants will be more than happy to assist you in your search.
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