In what has become an increasingly connected world, where we can be contacted at all times of the day and night, pretty much anywhere in the world, the pressure to be available at the drop of a hat can be considerable.
But just because we have the means to always be available doesn’t mean that we always should be, far from it.
In an increasingly competitive workplace, we can often feel obliged to go above and beyond what should reasonably be expected of us in order to advance our career, or simply even keep our job. But this approach does neither you nor your employer any favours, as there is a strong possibility that it will ultimately lead to burnout, or at the very least, low employee morale and personal difficulties. But by taking a few easy steps, you can achieve the optimum work-life balance that most of us crave.
Establish boundaries (and stick to them!)
Chances are, the more available you make yourself, the more people will take advantage of that. If you get into the habit of responding to emails and phone calls in your personal time, it will quickly become an expectation that you do so.
Avoid this by leaving your emails alone once you leave the office. They will still be there for you in the morning. Don’t be afraid to turn your phone off either, or at least stop answering work calls or calls from numbers you don’t recognise, and soon enough people will get the message that your out of office time is your time, and will stop impinging on it.
Take advantage of flexible workplace options (or make a case for them if there are none)
While it is not possible for all professions to work remotely, it is eminently possible for most of us to have at least some degree of flexibility in how, where and when we work.
For those of us with children, pets, or a long commute, working from home can be a great way of restoring some balance to your working week and getting more things done, both for yourself and your employer.
If there are no flexible work options currently in place where you work, make the case for them with your boss. If you can demonstrate that it will be mutually beneficial to introduce flexible working practices, chances are they will be open to the idea. And if they are not, maybe it’s time to consider another employer that will respect your needs and be more flexible.
A good way of getting your day off to a flier and improving your chances of getting home on time is to use any spare time you have during the day, or at the end of the day, to write a to-do list for the following morning.
Another organisational trait to save time is to lose the clutter! If you have a tidy workstation with everything clearly marked and stored, you will save yourself lots of time hunting around for those bits of paperwork you can never find under a mountain of other stuff.
Don’t lose sight of your priorities
Remember why the vast majority of us work in the first place – to keep a roof over our head, pay the bills, and generally provide for ourselves and our family. Family should always come first, and work second. If we lose focus of that, we could end up hurting our relationships with the ones we love the most, then what are we working for?
A common fear is that if something happened to us, we wouldn’t be able to continue to provide for our family, but with income protection insurance, you can rest assured that if you do happen to fall ill or suffer an injury, you will still receive a steady income to cover all your ongoing expenses.
Have some fun, and have it often
Lastly, never lose sight of the idea that life should be fun, so set aside plenty of time to see that show, go to that sporting event, read that book, take that holiday, meet with friends and have quality time with your family. Life is for living, so live it well.