Start small and build up. Making changes your daily routine could be incremental at first to make them more achievable. We are creatures of habit, particularly so at the moment, so be realistic with your goals. If you set your sights too high and fail to live up to your own expectations of yourself then this could have a damaging effect. Better to be able to celebrate the smaller positive changes you’ve made which will give you the encouragement you need to take the next steps along the path to a better work/life balance.
Prioritise your happiness
It’s all too easy to forget to do the things that make us happy but its important to try and make time for something that makes you happy at least once a day, no matter your workload. Prioritising work over everything else can be a slippery slope to burnout, which ultimately leads to reduced productivity. Try to schedule some specific downtime (happy time) into every day, for you that might be exercising, doing a Sudoko puzzle, reading, connecting with friends or meditating.
Turn off the tech
It’s near impossible to step out of work mode when we carry it around with us all day. We’ve all responded to a midnight LinkedIn connection request, or replied to a Tweet in the middle of our favourite Netflix boxset. This is a stealth attack on our personal time and we need to take back control. Try your best not to be 24/7 connected, it will be so liberating.
Expend your energy wisely
Our energy levels naturally fluctuate during the day and typically we are sufficiently familiar with our rhythms to be able to plan around them. Its utterly pointless to try and complete a mundane task when we are at our most lethargic and obvious that we should schedule tasks requiring creativity and innovation when we know we are at our most energetic. Planning around these energy peaks and troughs will maximise your productivity but if you find yourself flagging, take time out to recharge your batteries.
If you were in the office you would take some time away from your desk to go and get a coffee or chat to a colleague, there’s no reason not to do the same adapted version of this at home.
Re-evaluate your schedule regularly
Regularly reassessing your work/life balance is important to ensure you haven’t slipped back in to old bad habits. Perhaps what made you happy a year ago isn’t what makes you happy now, or maybe, when you made changes to your routine you lacked perspective. When every day feels the same its important to maintain some kind of structure to prevent motivation fatigue, so check in with yourself regularly and ask yourself if you are doing okay.
Sometimes the smallest of changes can have a huge impact. Most of all, be kind to yourself, try not to put yourself under too much pressure and remember, it’s okay not to be okay all the time.
Posted by Julie Tucker (who should possibly listen to her own advice sometimes!)
Images courtesy of Press Association