8 Steps to a Work-Life Balance



This is the Friendship Bridge

The Border between Nepal and Chinese Controlled Tibet.

It is one of the most strictly controlled borders I've ever crossed!








How strictly are you controlling your borders though?

Bizarrely with more people working from home, work-life balance seems to be more of an issue than ever. 

  • Are you working in an organisation where people start early and finish late?
  • Are you allowing yourself to check your work stuff in the evening or weekends when you are not supposed to be working? That is a choice you are making, of course
  • Are you a Manager or Leader in an organisation who is allowing that to happen? Shame on you if you are!

The fact is that everyone wins when people set sensible boundaries for their work. 

  • Personal: they are less stressed and happier in their work
  • Organisation: happy people take less time off sick and are more productive
  • Families: outside of work the person is more present and fully engaged
  • Society/economy: if people are happy in their work they tend to be healthier and draw less on national resources such as the NHS

When you are working from home its even more important to be aware of your boundaries as there isn't the natural break of the journey to/from work, getting dressed for work and changed when you get home afterwards, etc.

Here are eight steps you can take to set better boundaries when working from home (many of my clients have found a huge difference in implementing even one or two of these). 

  1. Have a set of clothes for work. Put them on before you start and change into something casual when you finish working. This signals to your brain that it can switch off from work
  2. Take a walk around the block one way (to work) before you start, and the other way (home from work) when you've finished
  3. When you finish work, turn your work tech off (phone, laptop, or anything else)
  4. Learn to say "No" to these things
    • doing work in your leisure time. Most of us will do a bit extra for a particular project or when there's a particular deadline, but if you're doing it regularly, generally that's not healthy. Tell your colleagues, boss, suppliers and customers when you are and aren't available.
    • doing stuff you don't have to do
    • doing stuff someone else should be doing: take the time to show them how if necessary, it will be a good investment of your time
  5. Talk to someone if you've got so much work that you can't physically do it in the time available. Often its your boss. Tell them what can be done in the time and what can't
  6. If you can, have a particular space put aside for work 
  7. Take breaks and get outside
    • Take regular breaks. Even 5 minutes every hour can help you to reset
    • Get outside for a walk and pay attention to what you can see, hear and feel in the moment. Notice the beauty
  8. Notice what you are getting! If you're starting to feel stressed, do something about it
    • Take a break (see 7 above)
    • Ask "What would I rather have and feel" and come up with three options.
    • Do something different: take action on one of those options

Time to take action

Take a few moments to choose some of the actions above to start improving your situation. Put them into practice this week. Take time to plan your week so that you've got time in your diary not to be working.

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