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HOW TO ACHIEVE
A WORK/LIFE BALANCE
- Let's start with the fundamentals: you need to have a healthy diet, take some regular exerice, and get the sleep that you need. Otherwise the rest won't work properly.
- Then the most important point is: be really clear about what you want from work and the rest of your life. What do you want to achieve at work? What do you want to achieve in your family life? In what way do these objectives clash? What really matters to you? You might find it helpful to formalise this process of thinking by writing down your answers and discussing them with a partner or freind.
- The next important point is: have a clear separation of the work and non-work aspects of your life. So, unless you really want to, don't take work home and certainly, when you go on holiday, don't be in contact with the office.
- If you are going to work from home, recognise that this is not always an easy option. Check out my advice on "How To Work At Home" [click here].
- The one other really crucial point is: try to achieve flexibility and control over the dividing line between the work and non-work aspects of your life. Ideally this means having flexible working arrangements such as flexitime and the ability to work from home when that suits you (such as when you have a special report to finalise or a child is ill).
- Since the pressure at work and at home is probably quite intense, you need to use the time at both effectively and efficiently. Check out my advice on "How To Use Time Wisely" [click here].
- If you are having problems achieving the right balance between work and home, don't suffer in silence, but talk to your line manager. Your manager needs to understand if you have an excessive workload or unreasonable deadlines or if your child is ill or your marriage is in difficulty. You can then explore a range of options to ease the problems.
- If approaching your line manager does not work, don't give up; talk to someone else who can help. This might be a human resources manager or - if they exist in your workplace - a trade union representative or an occupational health member or a counsellor.
- Stop feeling guilty. Nobody is the perfect worker and the perfect partner - we all have to make choices and compromises. Nobody has it all - whatever the movies or the magazines might portray.
- Make time for your family. Jobs come and go; your family is forever. Special events in your children's lives - such as a birthday party or a school concert - will not come round again in that precise form and therefore should not be missed.
- Make time for your partner. It's easy to take a partner or spouse - especxiallya long-term one - for granted, but this person is more important to you than any job and hopefully will still be with you long after you've moved on from this particular job.
- Make time for yourself. Even if you love your work, you need a change. If you don't enjoy your work. still more do you need to be good to yourself. So do what makes you happy, whether it's seeing friends or attending a football match or going to the garden centre or indulging in a little retail therapy.
- Go on a work/life balance course. The advice on this site can only be general; if you go on a suitable course, the trainer can help you address the particularities of your own circumstances and give you more specific advice.
Last modified on 6 May 2006
If you have some ideas of your own e-mail me
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