With smart phones now a given, the days of clocking off at 5pm and switching off are long gone. In a world where 24/7 connectivity is now the norm, it is important to remember to ensure balance by taking time for the things in life that make you happy.In Australia, we have a long way to go in terms of striking a balance between work and life, with a recent study by Seek showing that only 60% of Australian's are happy with their work life balance. Although some elements of balancing work and life are dependent on your employer such as flexible work hours and work from home options, there are still steps you can take to help you reduce stress, and make more time for the things you love. Here are our top tips:
Remember to take a break
Sounds easy enough - but all too often you end up eating lunch at your desk hunched over your computer, hastily taking bites of your sandwich as you type. Sound familiar? Numerous studies show that taking a break actually helps to keep you on schedule, refresh your attention span, improve creativity, boost memory and learning, and lower your stress. Even if only for half an hour, it is essential that you make sure you get away from your desk - you will be surprised by how much taking a break can actually improve your productivity.
Budget your time
Time is your most important asset, particularly if you have family commitments and need to get away from the office on time. Set out your tasks for each day and try to give yourself a rough timeframe for each. Competing against the clock will help you get tasks done faster, giving you more time to focus on other things.
Make the most of your commute
With inner city housing prices/rent through the roof, many people now have a 30-40+ minute daily commute. Think about how you can use your commute effectively to help you get your work done quicker. If you don't already, use your morning commute to get organised for your day and respond to emails. If you catch the train, consider bringing your laptop, and get a head start with the day's work. If you drive, make work calls on your way to work via hands free, or get your phone to read you your emails so you are already up to date when you arrive.
Be kind to yourself
No one can do it all, every day, 7 days a week – it's just not physically possible! All too often people think they have to squeeze an impossible amount of tasks into every day. Putting pressure on yourself to achieve unrealistic goals will only make things worse – and this is when everything falls apart. Take the pressure off, set realistic, achievable goals, and realise that you can't do everything all at the same time. If you give yourself a break, you will be less stressed, and have a clearer mind to get through what needs to be done.
Recognise priorities change, and that's a good thing
Aspects of your life and work will become more prominent at different times, and that is a good thing. Life is not about either/or choices, and life is not always predictable, so it is unrealistic to think that you can have a particular work/life structure that you will be able to stick to. For example, if you have a health scare, or if you start a new business or job, those things will temporarily become your priority. Elements of work and life will take different seats at different times, so don't stress if one momentarily takes over the other - it is all part of the balancing act.
Talk to your boss
If you have a good relationship with your boss, speak to them about some flexible work options. Maybe you can work from home one day a week to save you the commute, or perhaps you can start and finish earlier to miss some of the traffic. You will be surprised at how much these small tweaks to your schedule will help you get more done.
If you are struggling with work-life balance, Paxus can help you find an employer with the work flexibility that you need. Contact your local Paxus branch to discuss some of the most exciting technology and digital opportunities in the industry.