Getting your work-life balance right

Most of us need to work to pay the bills, but if life is totally dominated by your job it’s time to make some changes.

You started work at 6am and now it’s pushing 10pm and you’re still not done. Or you’ve taken a week’s holiday but have spent most of it responding to emails and catching up on admin. If your job is taking over your life, you may need to re-evaluate your work-life balance.

Try following these five simple rules:

  1. Start writing down your hours of work, including breaks. Are you regularly working beyond your contracted hours? If so, think about why this might be. If you’re under too much pressure, talk to your boss about this and ask for help. If you’re self-employed, scale back on your work or tell clients you need more time to complete them.
  2. Write a list of outstanding tasks. Make a detailed list of everything you need to do and when it needs to be done by. Prioritise carefully so you don’t have any nasty surprises to deal with, and so that everything is done in an orderly way rather than just tackling each task as you remember that it needs doing. Again, if you’ve got more on your plate than you can deal with, talk to someone rather than simply struggling on.
  3. Adopt healthy habits. It’s really important that you take regular breaks during work hours. Take a walk, give your body a good stretch, get outdoors, read a book or have a healthy snack. Allowing yourself to recharge will help you feel better and make you more efficient. Don’t allow yourself to check emails on your phone or even think about work while you’re away from your desk. Make sure you’re getting plenty of rest so you’re ready and able to get started each new day.
  4. Be accountable to someone. You may not feel able to talk to your manager about your work stress, but share your situation with someone you trust. Let them check in on you regularly as you try to stick to your work hours. Hang out with them instead of putting in extra time at your desk. Allow them to set curfews and change your work logins when you go on holiday!
  5. Plan some fun activities to keep your mind off work when you’re not there. You may feel as though the world will come to an end if you totally switch off, but it really won’t. You need to prioritise fun as well as work, so why not schedule in some time to splash in puddles with the kids, have a coffee with a friend from church, hit the gym, have a romantic weekend away or do a charity skydive? There really is more to life than work, and the last thing you want is to look back on your life and wish you’d made more of it rather than working around the clock.

Matthew 11:28 says: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”