Posted by Lisa Cugnetto on 06 March 2015
Achieving work-life balance is a constant pursuit for many of us. Indeed, a recent study from think tank The Australia Institute revealed that while 3.4 million Australian workers (29 per cent of respondents) thought their work-life balance had increased in the last five years, some 4.9 million (42 per cent of respondents) said it had worsened.
If you feel like you are struggling to find the perfect balance between work and play, consider these five tips to improving your work-life balance.
1. Switch off the screens
The digital age has seen us say goodbye to ‘leaving work at the office’. In a 24/7, always-on era, it can be tempting to constantly check in with what’s happening with work, even when you’re technically off the clock. However, it’s important to make time for yourself and the people and things you love. Put away the laptop and tablet and switch the smartphone off for a little while. Have an uninterrupted dinner with your family, catch a film without your phone buzzing with notifications and enjoy a weekend free of work stresses.
2. Give yourself a reason to get out of the office on time
You know that ceramics night class you’ve wanted to take? Or the soccer team your friend keeps asking you to join? Do it. Chances are if you have a commitment that you enjoy, you’ll get what you need done for the day and leave work on time. It will also provide a fun and social outlet outside of the office.
3. Communicate your needs
Sure, work can get busy sometimes and you may find yourself working overtime – but it should not become the norm. If working long days and weekends has become routine and long term, assess your work situation and schedule a chat with your manager. Talk about what can be done to help ease or change the situation so you can bring your work-life balance to a better place.
4. Take a holiday – in the truest sense of the word
Most of us look forward to holidays. They offer respite and time away from everyday life, including work. Create a proper handover with details of who to contact in your absence and any relevant notes. Then switch on your out-of-office alert and step away from the computer. Don’t feel obligated to check your emails or field calls from colleagues while on holiday. Ask that you only be contacted if the situation is urgent.
5. Take care of yourself
Ensuring you have time to exercise and eat well are important components of work-life balance. Try walking to work or using your lunchbreak to cross off those items on your to-do lists. Not only will your physical and mental wellbeing benefit, you’ll have higher energy levels and less stress.
Sick? You may think you’re doing work a favour by powering on and coming in, but the truth is you may prolong your healing period and make others in the office sick too. Work-life balance may be a hard pursuit, but it’s a very worthwhile one. Make sure you invest some time and energy towards getting the balance right this year.