How can I maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Is work a rewarding and fulfilling part of your life, or is it something that has grown to take up so

much of your time and energy that you resent, rather than enjoy it? 
We all have times when we're

especially busy and need to put in extra hours. But, for a healthy work-life balance, that situation

needs to be the exception rather than the norm. Modern technology means we're almost always

contactable, which can make it very difficult to switch off from work. Rather than making you more

efficient, by not giving your brain a chance to recharge you're going to graduallybecome less

productive.


 

So what are the warning signs you need to look out for to check you balance isn't tipping in the wrong

direction?


. You're regularly working more than 10 hours a day


. you barely make a dent in your workload, however hard you work


. You increase your caffeine or nicotine intake to get you through each day


. You regularly feel physically and emotionally drained during and after work


. You take work home with you in the evening or at weekends


. You suffer from weekly ‘Sunday-night blues'


. You get a reputation for letting down friends at the last minute

 

Your work should interest you, energise you and give you a buzz. But it should also leave you time to

enjoy the other aspects of your life – your friends and family, your hobbies and other interests. We work

best when our lives are in balance.
So if you've allowed yourself to get into the situation where work is

ruling your life and your nearest and dearest have almost 
forgotten what you look like, how do you get

out of the rut? 
You don't have to be the first person in or the last person out everyday to be effective.

In fact, people who work ridiculously long hours are simply demonstrating that they aren't able to cope

with 
their job. If you feel like you're being given too much work, the first thing to do is tell your manager.

They are likely to be busy 
themselves and unless you let them know, they won't know about you being

overworked. You'll be surprised about how accommodating 
some bosses can be, as they would prefer

to help you rather than have you resign or take time off for stress.
In most cases, 80% of a task can be

completed with 20% of the overall effort, but getting that last 20% completed can take a 
disproportionate

amount of time. If you're continually pushed for time, use your judgementto decide when you can tick off

a task 
rather than getting every last detail perfect. This shouldn't be an excuse for sloppy work, but it's

important to be able to distinguish 
between situations where perfection is required and where it isn't.

Sometimes knowing a place to stop working is an issue, in which case you should look to divide big tasks

or projects up into 
smaller chunks and tackle these one by one.It's always good to have something to

look forward to. Whether it's a night out or 
a two-week holiday, make sure your calendar has something in it

that all your efforts at work are focussed towards.
If you regularly take time to recharge your batteries, you'll

cope much better when things are unavoidably busy or stressful 
at work. An important part of goodtime

management is to take some time off - spending less time at work will make you 
perform much better

when you are there!

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