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Thursday, January 12, 2017

There’s a fine line between too much work and too much play. Pearl Mathias brings you five ways to achieve a healthy work-life balance this year

It’s a new year and once again, you’ve got another chance to do things the better, more balanced way this time around. If you find yourself slogging through your days, taking work home, can’t tick everything off your to-do list and find it impossible to catch up with friends or even on some sleep, you need to make a few changes. Maintaining a good work-life balance is not only essential for professional growth, but for your personal life as well. And, it’s not a very tedious task. Simply follow these rules and you’ll find that most of your troubles pertaining to either space will have been resolved. Here’s what you need to do.

Prioritising is paramount
There are only so many hours in a day and there’s only so much you can do. So, don’t plan for a 28-hour day and try to crunch it all in. In order to maintain a healthy work-life balance, serious prioritisation of your daily tasks is essential. This doesn’t necessarily refer to professional to-dos; it’s important to jot down a personal passion as part of your list as well. Due to pressing deadlines, your professional duties will always occupy space at the top of your list. However, try to incorporate one thing that you really want to do in your top five so that you identify what’s important to you and learn to prioritise your personal needs along with your professional tasks.

Followed by following through
Once you have your priorities in place, the next step is to follow through with them. It’s important to stick with your priorities no matter how tempting it is to push aside personal tasks for pressing professional work. Physically scheduling personal time, either in your diary or on your phone, really helps keep things on track in the wake of other commitments. So, whether it is taking your dog for a walk, visiting an old friend for dinner or attending yoga classes, put it down and make it happen. Treat it the same way you would treat a professional job that you need to get done.

You don’t always have to save the day
Start being honest with yourself about the time you have. You may have committed to someone else or taken on additional responsibility elsewhere. Be clear about your availability to your boss, clients, friends and even to yourself. It’s great to be the person that everyone can count on at the last minute, but if this urgent task will eat into your personal space, you need to learn how to take a step back and say no, no matter how tempting it is to be the one who saves the day. So, the next time someone approaches you with a last-minute project, evaluate your workload and then ask yourself whether this will add to your already sky-high pile of tasks and simply be an additional stress-setter.

Disconnect dutifully
There’s no doubting it — we love technology and social media, and what it’s done to our lives. On the flipside, we detest it a little bit too. It definitely has its downsides. For starters, it shows the world that you’re easily reachable and always available. And, gradually we are conditioned not to resist the urge to check that email or reply to a text message as soon as our screen lights up. So, try to detach instead of succumbing to the pressure of needing to give your phone constant attention. Additionally, you’ll agree that social media sucks up a lot of our time. How often have you found yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when you could have used that time to do something productive or relaxing? Part of the challenge to achieving a good work-life balance is to step away from your laptop, put your phone aside and give yourself a well-deserved break without the aid of the internet.

Work at work
Along with being constantly connected comes the habit of retiring at home as if it’s a continuation of your work day. Don’t treat your evenings or time at home as an opportunity to extend your workload. Your time after work is intended to give you space to decompress and unwind, so make sure you’ve got enough time to shut down and relax. Instead of trying to cross more tasks off your work list, use this time to catch up on a sitcom, read that book you haven’t touched in a while or even catch up with people you haven’t been able to because of your busy schedule. Maintaining an adequate balance may prove to be a challenge, but once you get through it and make it part of your routine, you’ll see the positive effects it has on your life.

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