Achieve Balance in your Working Life

By: Karen Williams

Work life balance means different things to different people. For some it is around better management of their day and for others it is having time for their family. For many it is making a change to their job, which is more consistent with their values, and enables them to create a better lifestyle.

It is the idea that people should have enough time to be able to work and have outside interests and responsibilities. But also, it may be about having the control over when, where and how they should work to allow them to have a fulfilled life both in and outside of work.

From a corporate point of view, it may be having work practices that aim to support the needs of staff in achieving a balance between their home and working lives, but also support the business needs. This has included changes in legislation that extends flexible working rights to carers and improvements to maternity and paternity provision.

To improve the way you live your life, consider the following top tips.

1. Carry out a life and career review

Ask yourself whether you want to carry on working the way you are, and whether you have the time for other important things in your life. If you want to make a change, go for it. Set yourself clear and achievable targets and reward yourself for the positive actions you take.

2. Remember to prepare

Spend time preparing what you want to achieve, as this can help you to better manage your time both in your job and your life. Every minute you spend planning can save you 5-10 minutes in actually doing the task.

3. Prioritise your tasks

Set aside some time at the beginning and end of every day to prioritise what you want to achieve and the importance of each task. If you do the most difficult thing first, all the other tasks will seem easy. At the end of each day, you can review what you have achieved (and congratulate yourself!) If a job seems large and unmanageable, determine what you actually want to achieve. Then break down the goal into smaller chunks and take small steps until you have achieved it.

4. Manage your time better

If you feel overwhelmed, keep a time diary for the week or two to check that you have the time to do everything you need to do. Keep a record of each activity in your life, and then review where you could manage your time better.

5. Delegate

Pass responsibility for completing a task to another person. It can help them to learn how to complete a task, and enables you to spend more time on the other important parts of your work or life. Decide what you want to delegate, explain what you want done, let go of the task, then give credit for work well done.

6. Review your working arrangements

It's important that you feel your job is right for you, and fits around other arrangements. You might want to explore whether your company offers flexible or part time working, job sharing, home based working or even career breaks or sabbaticals. These can help to support the other things that are important to you. If you feel that a review will help, arrange a time to talk to your manager and consider your options.

7. Set working boundaries

Where possible, set your working hours and stick to them. If you must take work home, ensure you set working boundaries to allow yourself a break. Even though you can use a laptop in front of the TV, do you really want to?

8. Have regular breaks

When at work, take a lunch break - go for a walk and get some exercise. Also make sure you take regular holidays and breaks from work.

9. Have fun at work

Although it can feel that it is all work and no play, make sure you share activities and experiences with your colleagues, and have a laugh. Develop and maintain social or team activities with colleagues.

10. Look after yourself

Finally, it is easier to achieve work life balance if you are healthy and have time to relax and enjoy your life. Develop and maintain interests that are not related to work and cultivate relationships with your family and friends. A regular exercise routine, eating healthily and sleeping well can help you to restore your energy and allow you to live a better balanced life.

Careers and Job Hunting
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