6 ways to create a good work-life balance
With the lines between work and home becoming increasingly blurred thanks to the current pandemic, it’s never been more important than now to try and strike a good balance between work and play.
A global workplace survey from 2018 discovered that the three most important things for employees include workplace flexibility, a commitment to well-being and working with a purpose. If your workplace however doesn’t offer the flexibility and well-being packages, it’s up to you to gain control and work out a way to get a good work-life balance.
1 Plan your day
Who has time to plan, eh? But that’s precisely why you need to! It’s not just about scheduling your work to do list, but also making time for scheduled breaks and you time.
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, try and have set work hours – and stick to them! Yes, there will be the occasional emergency, but if you always come in early or stay late, it’s a bad precedent to set for your mental wellbeing.
Top tip: Just as you would put a work meeting in the diary, schedule in an exercise session or daily walk. When you see it written down, you’re much more likely to do it and not put it off for more work!
2 Take time away from your screens
Too much screen time can not only put a strain on your eyes, but it can also make it more difficult to destress and sleep thanks to the blue light output. The best solution is to just switch off your screen and take a break. Run, walk, meditate, read. Do something – even if it’s just for 10 minutes – that’s not focused on a screen. Your eyes – and mental health – will thank you for it.
Top tip: On your phone a lot for work? You can buy blue light screen protectors, which not only protect your screen from breaking, but can also help with eye strain.
3 Separate your spaces
Now that we’re all working from home, our homes have become offices as well as our place of relaxation. To help make that shift between the two, ideally you need to work, relax and sleep in different areas of your house. Of course, this might not be possible, but even if you can just squeeze a desk into the corner of your lounge or a bedroom, it will feel like you’re working and winding down in a different place.
4 Clear out your workspace at the end of the day
If your workspace does happen to be the kitchen table, it’s super important to clear everything. The same goes for when you’re back in the office. A tidy up of your desk will help mark the end of the day and ensure you’re ready to go as soon as you hit your desk come the AM.
Top tip: I have one friend who physically puts her laptop away in a cupboard at night – out of sight, out of mind as she says, and less temptation to just ‘answer a quick email’ at night when you should be chilling.
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5 Make time to catch up with family and friends
Burying your head in the (work) sand is never a recipe for a healthy mind. Close relationships are so important to our mental health – they can not only help increase our sense of belonging, but also improve self-confidence and help reduce stress and anxiety.
Top tip: I’ve rediscovered the joy of old-fashioned phone calls recently. Not only is it a great way to catch up with pals, but it takes me back to my teen days when I couldn’t wait to hit the phones after a school day and get all the gossip – and there’s something quite therapeutic about that – plus, it means less screen time!
6 Dress for work
Get into work mode – even if you are WFH. It doesn’t have to be full-on formal attire, but even wearing a smart blouse with a pair of jeans can make you feel more like you’re working – plus it will make you look together for any of those work Zoom calls.
Top tip: Back in the day when I worked in an office, I used to keep a smart blazer at work at all times. It came in handy if I had to attend a sudden meeting or needed to freshen up for after work drinks. Even now while WFH, I have a smartish jacket to hand that I can throw on over any outfit to make me look that little bit more professional for any last-minute Zoom calls.