This article was last reviewed in September 2019 by Pedro Santos, a registered nurse in our Health at Hand team.
Meeting the demands of work while enjoying life at home with your family and friends can be hard to balance. In fact, AXA Health's own research revealed 8 out of 10 (82%) working parents find it difficult to deal with ‘life admin’ - those unavoidable tasks and events that interrupt our everyday lives - outside of their normal working hours.
From time to time, the challenges of balancing home and work life can start to have an impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Finding the right balance between competing demands of home and work can lead to a more fulfilled life. Below are some suggestions to help you achieve work-life balance.
Understanding your current position
Work-life balance means different things to different people at different stages of their lives. Jobs and careers, children and other dependents, leisure pursuits and impending retirement will each assume a different level of importance as you move through your working life. Understanding your own needs and priorities is the first step to improving the balance.
What needs to change?
- What are the three most important things in your life at the moment?
- To what extent does the time you spend on them reflect their importance?
- What types of tasks are on your 'To Do' list? Are they your priorities or someone else's?
- What wastes your time? Could you do anything to stop it happening?
- What pressures are you under at the moment?
- Can you prioritise them?
- Could anyone help you with any of these tasks?
- What would you rather be doing?
- What can you change to help you achieve what you'd rather be doing?
Maintaining the balance
The list of hints to maintaining a balance is extensive. Although most of them are common sense, they are often over-looked and often succumb to outside influences.
Here are a few of them:
- Don't over-commit yourself
- Delegate tasks where possible
- Make a list, or plan, and stick to it
- When you identify a problem, talk to someone about a possible solution
- Focus on critical tasks
- Don't take work home unless absolutely necessary
- Don't miss meals to save time
- Plan a holiday
Your wellbeing is down to you to protect
By introducing some rules to running your daily life, you could start to achieve more of a balance and make improvements:
- Make daily schedules
- Don't be a perfectionist
- Learn to say "No!"
- Learn to prioritise
- Decide what's important to you
- Accept help if it's offered
- Plan ahead
- Combine several activities
Following these tips will help with finding the “sweet spot” between work and home life.
Work-life balance - Mental Health Foundation
CIPD - www.cipd.co.uk