Tipping the scales to serenity: 9 tips to achieve better work-life balance

4 Minute Read | Author: Amanda Phelan

Are you frustrated with trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance? Many of us are time poor, lagging behind the rest of the developed world in this area, warns national website Health Direct.

Here are some top tips to help you even the scales.

Tip one: Pick your priorities

Despite our fantastic climate and beautiful beaches there’s no question we are a nation of hard workers, with official statistics showing full time employees aged 20-74 put in an average 40.6 hours per week. This means hours on-the-job are well above the 1980s. But it’s important to even out work time and relaxation, and focus on making choices to help you feel balanced within. Life coach, business mentor, and author Fiona Craig says flexibility is key: “Your work-life balance will vary. There’s no one size fits all approach,” the author of Stuck in a Rut: How to rescue yourself and live your truth, tells Starts Today. You could start with weekly to-do lists for everything from fitness aims to boardroom presentations. You can create these on excel or smartphone apps like Google Keep, Wunderlist, or Any.do.

Tip Two: Meditate

Practice a form of mediation that works for you: some people like Transcendental Meditation (TM) the technique talk show star Ellen Degeneres says helped her to finally achieve a quiet mind. Other options include mindfulness, walking the dog or gardening — something that frees you from the unnecessary mental chatter. Don’t think about what should be done or what so-and-so is doing. It starts with looking within and not around you.

Tip Three: Switch off!

We live in a connected world and the lines between work and personal are increasingly blurred. Literally switching off improves wellbeing, and can even have a positive impact on your job performance. Minimise screen time. Research shows those of us bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information or switch from one job to another as efficiently as those who complete one task at a time.

Tip Four: Divide and conquer

Separate home and work life. You can take a fluid approach to living in both worlds, but do not attempt to do them at the same time. The key is to make a conscious effort to be present wherever you are.

Tip Five: Work smarter, not harder

Sleep hacking is a growing trend, with many believing you should work more and sleep less. But US academic Matt Might strongly disagrees in his work-life balance blog: “The equation for work is: output = unit of work / hour × hours worked. ‘Work more, sleep less’ people tend to focus too much on the hours worked part of the equation. The unit of work / hour part of the equation – productivity – is just as (if not more) important.” Consider the bleak statistics set out by the British Mental Health Foundation: when working long hours 27 per cent of employees feel depressed, 34 per cent feel anxious and 58 per cent feel irritable.

Tip Six: Delegate!

Delegate at work and at home. “Build on a bedroom routine as the kids get older. Get kids to take responsibility at a young age for cleaning their room, packing their schoolbags and helping younger siblings. Let your child voice their opinion and negotiate age appropriate tasks for them. Don’t forget to reward with cuddles, stickers, or an outing,” says Fiona Craig. At work, hand over and remember the word team.

Tip Seven: Time management

Diaries, calendars, apps and to-do lists are all useful strategies. Keep track of where the time goes, and cut down on unnecessary time wastage. Shop online, reduce commuting time and avoid non-essential meetings.

Tip Eight: Don’t fall into the ‘yes’ trap

Learn to say no and set boundaries at home and at work. If you’re available 24/7 to your boss’s relentless demands, and the result is overload, try harnessing the power of no. Boundaries are like imaginary lines drawn between yourself and others. Create clear boundaries so you can be respected and understood.

Tip Nine: Healthy habits

Regular exercise has proven benefits for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Get enough sleep at regular times, eat healthy food and drink in moderation. Rest is important to recharge the batteries.

Now you are well equipped to tip the scales towards the balance between work and home.