Work life balance can seem an impossible ideal to achieve with technology making work accessible 24/7 and the fear of redundancy snapping at everyone’s heels. The stress of never being able to switch off and the long hours worked, we know, is damaging to health, relationships and overall happiness.
Often we are so immersed in the hours and the work we only know something is wrong when we get close to crisis. However you can schedule in a regular check, maybe every 1 – 2 months, to keep an eye on your balance and make adjustments if things are starting to dip.
The definition of work life balance is personal and individual but the following list can help you work out what you personally need to review regularly:
- How many hours a week am I working? Am I being productive in those hours?
- Am I bringing work home with me? How often do I work in the evening?
- How often do I take a lunch break? Do I need to work through my lunch hour?
- Am I able to switch off at the weekend? Am I thinking about work all the time?
- How am I using my phone/tablet? Is it keeping me too plugged into work?
- Am I taking my holidays? Do I take work on holiday with me? Am I contactable by work when I’m on holiday?
- Do I have any interests outside work? How much time do I make for them?
- Have I missed any family events because of work?
- Am I managing to spend quality time with family/friends on a regular basis?
- Am I often late to collect my children from childcare/school?
- Have I made time for me to recharge?
- What is my mood like? Am I snappy with loved ones? Do I feel anxious about work/guilty about home?
- Have I been able to do any exercise recently?
If you are finding that certain areas are out of balance then taking action quickly can bring long term benefit. This Guardian Careers blog 10 tips for better work life balance is very useful.