Ah, a good work life balance. Much longed after and much fabled, oft cited as a key component of overall happiness, and most all, really damn difficult to achieve. Indeed, leaving ‘work at work’ in the digital age, where all of us are on and in contact 24/7, can seem like an impossible dream. But, it shouldn’t be that way.

Recent research by HandsetExpert found that us Brits are more likely to remember our office number over our partners. If you’re one of these people, then it might be time to address your work life priorities. So, for the benefit of your mental health, personal life and job satisfaction, read on. Here are 4 IDEAL ways to improve your work life balance.

LEARN TO SAY NO…

It may sound simple, but when put under pressure from colleagues, it’s not always as easy as uttering that two letter word. But it should be. 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; quality of work, not quantity, benefits from learning when and how to say no.

…BUT DON’T IGNORE CALLS

While learning to say no is key, it is, however, important to maintain professionalism and politeness. Simply ignoring calls and turning your phone off might be viewed as rude or obstructive, and doesn’t get the message across as effectively. So, consider how best to tackle unwanted, unecessary post-work contact. The mobile phone comparison website HandsetExpert conducted a survey of over 1,000 people, questioning Brits about ignoring phone calls and if the boss is calling out of hours. It was found that 29% of Brits are likely to ignore or decline the call. Be one of the 71% and answer, but be firm in your response.

ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES

We think it’s completely normal that sometimes, during down time, your mind wanders to your work. You might even check a few emails, and that’s fine. What’s really important, though, is to establish boundaries with your employer. How you flesh those out is entirely up to you, but specifying no contact after a certain time, and no starting of new projects when you’re at home, is a good start.

Setting these boundaries should extend to using your smartphone or laptop on a broader scale, too. Put aside time for you, away from any screens, to enable you to fully relax.

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

A contributing factor in having to work late or at home after work is a certain amount of inefficiency at task completion during the working day. It’s important then, to work smarter, not harder. Stay away from distractions like social media and online shopping during working hours; draw up a plan for the day on the tube to work; delegate when appropriate; all of these seemingly innocuous actions will lead to less overspill of work into your free time. Result!

USE YOUR COMMUTE TO UNWIND

For those who have a long commute home, this time shouldn’t be spent catching up on work emails. Neither should it be spent staring into space. Use this blessed little window of uninterrupted sitting (if you’re lucky enough to find a seat, that is) to do something productive or relaxing. Read a book, play chess online, complete a crossword or learn a new skill; something which takes your mind away from the office and the train does the same.