Work and life: Getting the balance right

It’s not easy to juggle work and family commitments, let alone find the time to let your hair down. But all work and no play can wreak havoc with your career as well as your health.  Finding ways to work smarter instead of harder is key to getting the balance right. If you find yourself making silly mistakes or feel like you’ve done ten rounds with Tyson Fury, it’s time to take stock. You need a work-life balance that will improve your productivity and your wellbeing. Here’s fivesquid’s top tips to help you achieve just that…

Give yourself a break

If your ‘to do’ list doesn’t include some ‘me’ time, you’re missing a trick. As Hillary Clinton put it: “Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.” Productivity is key to career success. That means output is more important than the number of hours you spend chained to your desk. By taking regular breaks, you'll have more energy to carry out tasks efficiently. A lunch break and time away from the screen can refresh your body as well as your mind, and you won’t end the day too tired to let your hair down.

Focus on what’s important

Peter Drucker got it right when he said: “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” How much of your day do you waste? Are you a keyboard warrior who feels compelled to respond to non-urgent messages with lightning speed? Perhaps you can’t resist touching base with colleagues or customers. Stop! Dipping in and out of email and social media accounts is a sure fire way to throw a spanner in the works.  Save yourself time by only dealing with correspondence at set times. It will keep you focussed on what’s important – productivity. Working smarter will ensure you clock off on time.

Remember, you’re human

Unless you run on rocket fuel, you’re unlikely to be available to work around the clock. So why accept more work than you can comfortably complete? Saying ‘no’ is a sign of strength, not weakness. Think about a request before you agree to anything. And say ‘no’ if your workload can’t accommodate any last minute extras or new jobs. Stop yourself from giving long-winded excuses. There’s no need and you’ll only waste time. Hard workers don’t have to mimic machines to earn respect. Think of the extra time you will be able to spend with those you love and saying ‘no’ will get easier.

It's also okay to ask for help if you're already overloaded. You may find that a work colleague is more than happy to oblige, so don't be afraid to ask. You could even hire a helping hand to help you deal with some of the menial tasks you just don't have the time to handle. 

Get yourself out and about

Working every hour God sends can do more than leave your complexion looking like the underbelly of a dead fish. It can drive a wedge between you and those you love. Overdoing it will eventually make you feel run down and unable to cope. People who can’t achieve the right work balance are more likely to suffer from poor mental health. Getting out in the fresh air is a blinding way to reinvigorate your joie de vivre; staying indoors is definitely a vampire thing! Humans need exercise and fresh air. It’s just the tonic for mind, body and soul. Why not organise a day out with family or friends and embrace the great outdoors?

Know when to switch off

Leaving work at the office can be impossible for some people – especially if you work from home. But you will never achieve a good work-life balance if you can’t switch off. Author Gretchen Rubin says: “Technology is a good servant but a bad master.” She’s right. That is why a great work-life balance starts by closing your laptop’s lid, switching off mobile devices and embracing life beyond your career.

It’s worth noting that high achievers are often not those who are first in and last out of the office. They are those who know how to manage their time and really get the most out of life. Pucker.