The age-old question for those that are pursuing a hectic career path is how they can maintain a good work and life balance. Corporate and commercial jobs will often require people on the lower end of the ladder to work their butts off in order to progress. Once you become more senior, you get more autonomy and with this comes the ability to manage your own time.
But, the first ten years of a career path can be gruelling. Even if you love what you do, it can be tiresome at times to be in the office consistently until 8 or 9pm while your friends all go out for dinner and drinks without you. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut for hard work but there are ways you can manage your time so that you don’t have to completely neglect your friends and family. Here are some top tips on how to maintain a good work/life balance.
Don’t Eat Lunch at Your Desk
If you have a mountain of work to do then it can be tempting to wolf down a sandwich at your desk and carry on working through lunch. This is immeasurably bad for you. After spending all day in an office, you need to walk around, get some fresh air, and socialise.
Find yourself a group of workmates who have a similar work schedule to you and suggest eating lunch together every day. If the weather is nice you can sit outside somewhere, otherwise head to the canteen. Chatting with your colleagues about something other than work for a bit is a good way to maintain a social life and de-stress before you go back to your desk for the afternoon.
Make Evening Plans
You might not be able to make evening plans every night but at least once a week try and organise something to do after work. Even if it is just having one beer with a friend, this will stop you from feeling consumed by your career and force you to leave the office at a reasonable time. If it means you have to work slightly later the next day to make up for it then so be it.
Use Your Weekends Well
Those that work flat out all week need to maximise their free time to maintain a good work/life balance. This means using their weekends wisely. Make a plan for at least one of your free days and use the other to relax. The worst thing is Monday rolling around and you feeling like you have wasted the entire weekend because you didn’t get anything organised. This is when you will spend quality time with your partner, family or friends so use your weekends wisely.
Get in the habit of prioritising your work so you know which things are urgent and need to be done straight away and which things can wait. Being meticulously organised like this will help you leave work at a reasonable time and stop those last minute panics. Having an ordered list like this will also allow you to focus better so you don’t end up wasting time. This can also help you play to your strengths. If you know you work better in the morning, move your more complicated tasks to the morning and do the easier work in the afternoon.
Don’t Be a Push Over
There will be times when your boss will grab you as you’re walking out the door and ask you to do something for them. There is nothing you can do to prevent this. However, you can stop this from happening on a regular basis by making sure people know they cannot walk all over you. Being strong does not mean you have to come across as obnoxious or arrogant, it simply lets people know that you are not willing to be taken for granted.