Do you ever feel like your job is taking over your whole life? Though it is common for jobs to spill into spare time, it’s still important to try and draw the line between work hours and time spent with family, friends or to relax and recoup. Once you find that balance, you will be happier, healthier and enjoy your daily life even more.
Essentially, it all comes down to better time management, so here are some pointers for improving your work/life balance:
1. Use Your Journey To and From Work
Public transportation is a good opportunity for responding to emails and means you’re ready to crack on with work as soon as you arrive at the office. Alternatively, use this time to catch up on reading or your favorite TV show if you have a tablet or smartphone. Some downtime before and after work can help take your mind off the stress of the office and help you wind down at the end of the day.
If you live close enough to your workplace to walk, run or cycle to and from work. Use this as your daily exercise and save costs on gym fees and time in the evening that could be spent with friends or family! Exercise and healthy eating boosts your energy and alertness, so you’ll also be more productive at work.
Driving to work is slightly trickier, as this is not the time for multitasking! However, if reading is your thing, invest in some audio books and make the most of your drive time. If you can car pool, you might not be saving time but at least you could save on petrol costs.
2. Create Deadlines for Yourself
You can’t always keep to tight schedules at work (phone calls/meetings that overrun are common reasons for pushing back other tasks), but giving yourself some daily, weekly and monthly deadlines can help you be more productive and leave on time each day. Use your phone, email or calendar to set yourself reminders; careful organization means less wasted time.
3. Schedule Your Social Life Too
Putting work meetings in your calendar is a daily norm – it helps keep you on track during those busy work hours. The same can apply to your home life. If you give your social commitments some ‘structure’, you’re more likely to keep to them. Next time you meet a friend for coffee, instead of saying “Let’s catch up again soon”, put a concrete date in both your calendars.
Making the most of your weekend can also be tricky if you don’t have plans in place, you might find yourself on Monday morning in the office thinking, “Where did the weekend go?”
Try planning three things to do over the weekends for the next three weeks – they don’t have to be on separate weekends, you could do all three in one! At the end of the three weeks, you’ll remember the fun stuff you’ve been doing in your spare time, making your work/life balance more apparent.
Try doubling up on things too – make your exercise regime social by running with a friend or meeting them at the gym.
4. Shop Online
Does your weekly trip to the groceries take up your entire Sunday afternoon? Save the weekends for fun stuff and start shopping online during one lunch break per week. Many online supermarket websites and apps will allow you to save ‘favorites’ so you don’t have to trawl through pages. Even better, delivery can be arranged for a time that’s convenient for you.
5. Delegate Tasks at Work… and at Home
There are other ways to minimize the time you spend doing things you don’t really want to be doing.
At work, talk to your manager about your current workload. There may be other people in your team or wider department who would like additional responsibilities that you could share tasks with. Be sure to keep your manager in the loop with everything you’re working on so they’re always aware of how much you’ve got on.
Swap home tasks with friends, family and even neighbors – offer to mow their lawn in exchange for ironing your shirts! If you’re not on a budget, consider hiring a cleaner or a gardener.
Our tips may seem like common sense, but getting yourself organized in the first place can off-putting. Trial yourself for a couple of months and see how it pays off.
If you’re still struggling to improve your work/life balance after trying out our tips, maybe it’s time to consider changing roles – browse Michael Page jobs today.