The struggle is real. Research shows that two thirds of British employees are not happy with their work-life balance, and what surprises us most about that statistic is that it’s not even higher. How do the remaining third do it?! Well, we’re about to enlighten you.

As the workplace becomes increasingly competitive, ‘growth’ is prioritised above all else, and the financial stresses of living in the city increase, more of the population are finding themselves putting in extra hours at work. Which eats into that much needed downtime. So, we’ve teamed up with outsourcing platform Airtasker, to bring you these; our 5 IDEAL tips  on how to achieve a better work-life balance.

LEARN WHEN (AND HOW) TO SAY NO

If you’re the kind of person that finds it hard to say no to your boss or teammates when they ask for help, you’ll know the feeling of finding your proverbial plate overflowing. 

It’s all about learning when and how to stick to your guns. Indeed, there’s no need to respond straight away when someone asks you for help with a task; and don’t allow anyone to pressure you into doing otherwise. Instead, inform pushy colleagues that you’ll get back to them and take a moment to take back control of your time. 

Give permission to yourself to put your foot down, with refusal delivered in a firm but friendly manner, and you’ll soon notice people in the office are treating you with more respect, not less. If not, then a little reasoning goes a long way. Remember, it’s better to do a few things well rather than burning the candle at both ends trying to get too much done.

LEAVE YOUR WORK AT WORK  

Our smartphones have somehow made us more productive and less productive, all at once; the sneaky, deceitful, incredibly useful things. Despite all the distractions they offer, all the temptations they dangle in front of us, they also give us a chance to do our work from pretty much anywhere, for better or for worse.

For worse, mainly. Let’s face it, you really shouldn’t be looking at your work emails at 11.30 p.m or rolling over in the middle of the night to draft that email you’ve been composing as you stare at the ceiling, unable to sleep.

Leaving your work at work, then, and ceremoniously shutting down and off for the day, is vital if you’re to achieve that much coveted, perfect work-life balance. A good way to switch your mind off when leaving work is to write a to-do list for the following day; and leave it at work. Then shut down your computer or close your laptop, perhaps put on an out-of-office, and leave any work stresses in the office. Blocking all calls and emails from bosses or colleagues between 5pm and 9am the next day may seem drastic but…okay, actually, it probably is too drastic.

WORK SMARTER 

…you know the rest. In an age of useless email threads and meetings about meetings, it’s imperative you master the art of focus and learn how to work smarter, not harder. It’s easy to unconsciously waste time while at the office, leaving work piled up for you at the end of the day because you’ve been exchanging emails about procedural, pedantic concerns for hours.

Prioritisation is the number one thing to master if you want to be efficient and productive within your work hours. This links back to the first point about being able to say no. Don’t be afraid to decline meeting invites if your presence isn’t necessary. Do more:

  • Set deadlines for each step in each task and stick to them rigidly.
  • Block out time in your diary or move to a quiet area of the office to get a presentation or report done properly, efficiently, and without disturbance.
  • Outsource or delegate smaller tasks that you feel don’t best match your skillset. If you’re able to eliminate the ‘faff’ and cut out the noise, you’ll find yourself getting a lot more done in a lot less time.

SCHEDULE BOTH WORK & PERSONAL TIME 

According to a recent study, quality ‘me-time’ can actually make you a better employee. Go figure. And of course, it’s also great for your well-being. So, how do you make sure you’re getting it?

Try this: schedule self-care time into your diary and give it as much pertinence as you do your career. Have a clear divide between your work hours and your personal hours, and don’t let either intrude on the other. If you tend to land on the work-obsessed side, think of it this way – the more you’re able to focus on your personal well-being, the more engaged you’ll be as an employee. It’s a win-win for everybody.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY  

A poor work-life balance takes a toll on your physical health, not just your mental well-being. Exercise is oh-so-important to de-stress both your body and mind, thanks to the wonderful endorphins it releases and the clarity it brings. Try and get a half hour everyday; even a simple walk can reduce stress and give you a boost, leaving you more energised later down the line.

Similarly, meditation and other types of relaxing activities pre or post-work can help you disengage from stressful thoughts about work, and only takes ten minutes of your day. Surely you can make time for your own mind?

With that last point in mind, check out our 5 IDEAL meditation and mindfulness apps for 2020 to help you on your journey to a more zen version of you.