Four simple ways to improve your work-life balance

Work-life balance can sometimes feel like a pipe dream but here are some practical tips that could help turn it into a reality.

Sometimes work has a way of getting in the way of life and for most, January is a good time to reassess your work-life balance.

It’s a good idea to review your work-life balance regularly. “Every year, do a major reflection on how all the elements in your life are going,” suggests career coach Michelle Landy. “Focus on two elements: what’s working and what needs to change.”

Know when to switch off

For many of us, work has the potential to creep into every aspect of our being. It’s important to switch off at times and allow yourself to rest or be present in other parts of your life.

“The key to balance or integration is actually being mindful of where you are,” Landy says – although this isn’t a part of work-life balance we tend to think about.

One way to do this is to consider how your mind can transition between work and home. It’s the little things that can make a big difference here. It could be as simple as taking a deep breath and reminding yourself to be present as you step through your front door or turning off notifications on your phone so you don’t get disturbed with emails when you’re at home.

Set boundaries

If it feels like you’re on call even when you’re at home, try letting people know when you’re available and, importantly, when you’re not.

For example, tell your colleagues that when you get back home you’ll be back online for 30 minutes at 7pm  – and then stick to it. You might be surprised how well others fit in with your boundaries.

And it’s worth considering giving yourself one full day off a week where you don’t check emails or do any work, instead do something you really enjoy like catching up with friends or having a massage. 

Family playing

Do the things that matter to you

Sit down and think about things that matter to you such as:

  • Going for a bike ride 
  • Going to Pilates class
  • Catching up with friends for dinner
  • Dropping off or picking up your kids from school

Make a personal commitment that these things are non-negotiable no matter what the work commitment is. 

Tell your colleagues and explain why these things are important to you and that you’re not willing to miss out on them. Most work mates will understand and it might even spark them on to the same and then you can keep each other accountable for up keeping your non-negotiables. 

Ask for help

Asking others to help you maintain a healthy balance is perhaps the hardest thing to get your head around. It can take some courage to do this, but it’s simply an indication of being human: we all need a bit of help at times.

Consider what would really be helpful to you, whether it’s delegating to others at work and at home, or asking a friend to pick the kids up from school once a week. 

Taking simple steps can help us improve our work-life balance. 

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