Taking control of your Work/Life Balance at work

I recently gave an interview to a journalist form from Woman magazine on Work/Life Balance and I am looking forward to seeing the article sometime in January. She was a lovely young woman who worked from home with small children and very passionate about achieving a perfect work/life balance for herself. 

We chatted for an hour and it was such a pleasure sharing with her my views on what was important to consider whilst working towards maintaining a happy balance between work and personal life. Her questions were well thought provoking and evoked some interesting answers from me which also made me think about my own personal values and what I was prepared to tolerate in the working environment and not. 

Here are a few of the topics we covered and some of the ideas we shared. 

On taking your full holiday and doing something that really nourishes you...

You are entitled to your full holiday allowance and it is in the interest of the company and your team for you to take this time off for yourself. When we come back from a holiday where we have had some for ourselves to relax and reflect and also spend quality time with our partners and family we feel refreshed, reenergised and renewed. Often taking a break for a while from problems we left behind at work really helps us see to see them from a different perspective when we return. We are in a more relaxed frame of mind and are able to step back from them and offer a fresh viewpoint or they do not trouble us as much.

We all like to plan towards a holiday and part of the fun and enjoyment is talking about it and looking forward to it. We have greater incentive to work hard and feel like we have earned our time off to relax and nourish ourselves physically and also emotionally.

A change is as good as rest means that we can get away from our normal routines and do different things at different times. This is fun and refreshing.  

Working late on a regular basis 

It can sometimes be the boss who sets the pace and culture but not always so. Sometimes it can be an employee who is extremely ambitious and sets the pace for everyone else. It doesn’t have to be that way, it takes courage to stand up for your rights sometimes and also understanding what is important to you in your life. For some people work is everything to them but you may choose to have others areas of your life just as important to you. 

How do you take care of yourself in a hectic and busy working environment?

Be clear about what is most important to you in your life.

Have clear boundaries for yourself, what you are prepared to do and definitely what you are not.

Be assertive and communicate to your boss how you are feeling and if you are having trouble coping with the workload or the long hours of work, even if it may be challenging to do so sometimes, at least he/she is aware of the impact it is having on you. 

Schedule time out for yourself 

Do things that you enjoy and that nourish you during your time off. Switch off your phone, computer and only deal with work matters during your working hours, people soon become used to you being unavailable during your hours off.  See it as making an appointment with yourself. You would never miss an appointment you have made with a client or your best friend, would you? 

Rest and play is as important to us as work. Mentally, physically and emotionally we benefit from having the two in balance. Our mind is like a computer, processing information and thinking all the time we are at work. Just like a computer needs to be switched off from time to time, so do we. Taking time out to do this several times a day can make you feel more refreshed and think more clearly. The mind stops going round in circles and we find new solutions to problems and are more able to prioritise. 

Some key points to remember : 

  • You are entitled to your full holiday allowance and ensuring we take the holiday allocated to us means we feel refreshed, energised and renewed after it and everyone benefits.
  • Have the courage to challenge the culture at work sometimes and stand up for your rights and leave work on time
  • Take care of your own needs at work and communicate clearly to your boss any difficulties you may be experiencing
  • Schedule time out for yourself and keep that appointment with yourself as you would a close friend

Enjoy your Christmas break and remember to make a few New Year resolutions for yourself to achieve a healthier Work/life Balance!