7 Tried and Tested Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

by Emily - January 21, 2015

This is a topic that has been covered in glorious Technicolor in books and every corner of the internet. None of these things are new and there are lists like this everywhere, we know, but honestly, we’ve tried everything! These are what worked for us. Feel free to comment with yours.

1. Start the day with a list of things you absolutely have to do. (This is work-life balance 101, so bears repeating!) Don’t make your list too long. Stick to it. Make an additional list of things which need to be done at some point but not today. If you have everything on your list done, slide something from your “one day” list onto your “do today list”.

2. Inbox Zero. There is nothing more delightful than an empty inbox and this really helps to reduce stress. The rules are simple;

a. If you don’t need it and there’s nothing to do, delete it
b. If there’s nothing to do but you need it for reference, file it
c. If it can be done in five minutes or less, do it straight away
d. If it will take longer but has to be done, put it on your to-do list
e. If it will take longer and doesn’t’ have to be done urgently, put it on your “one day” list.

3. Set a time that you are going to start and finish. Stick to it. We all have days that seem to stretch on forever or that have to due to deadlines or events but if you say; I will start today at 9 and finish at 5, you’ll find it much easier to switch off work-mode once the end point arrives. Some of us are always on call due to the nature of our work but if you can switch your phone off, do.

4. Pomodoro. Pomodoro is wonderful. It’s a writer’s best friend but can be applied to any job or task. 25 minutes of working, 5 minutes of doing whatever else you like; reading Buzzfeed, making tea, staring into space. Combine it with your to-do lists and watch the ticks mount up! http://pomodorotechnique.com/

5. Set yourself a reward for completed tasks. Whatever it is; watching your favourite show, or having a long bath, buying a piece of jewellery or a dirty great cake, you’ll enjoy it more if you associate it with success.

6. Don’t work weekends. No. Weekends are unsullied time for you and your family and friends. Delete unnecessary emails if you can’t bear them mounting up but nothing more. It will all wait for that Monday morning to-do list.

7. If it all feels like it’s too much, ask for help. If you’re self-employed, think about joining a networking group where you can get advice from similar folk. If you’re seriously time-poor or on your own, there are plenty of online networking groups and forums, you can seek out one relevant to you. If you’re employed, speak to the boss or trusted colleagues. If you are the boss, you could always approach an agency for advice and support, a consultation won’t be costly and could save your sanity.

What works for you? Have you tried any of these and how did you get on? What have we missed?