New Year Resolutions: Whether you’re a fan of them or not, when it comes to improving work life balance it can be useful to start the year by making some pledges to yourself before you fall into the same old habits. Here are some work life balance resolutions for 2018 you can start applying immediately.
#1 Make Regular Plans For Time Off – And Stick to Them
Start the year by adding holidays and breaks to your calendar. Rather than booking in holidays and days away around your work schedule as you go through the year, plan further ahead and ensure that you take time off more regularly. Even if you have to change the days slightly as time goes on, what you have written down will push you to book that city weekend or day out with the family you’ve been promising yourself since the beginning of 2017.
#2 Count Your Leisure Time as You Count Your Work Hours
The quality of your leisure time is just as important as the quality and productivity of your working hours. If you wouldn’t idle away your work day on social media, why waste vital leisure time constantly checking inboxes and reading documents that can wait until you are back in the office? Failure to switch off properly has a very real impact on your productivity overall, so take both work and leisure time equally seriously. Start thinking about just how much rest and enjoyment can be achieved in the free hours that you have. This mindset will help to allay any guilt over wasted time – knowing you’ve spent every minute helping yourself to rejuvenate and spend quality time with others will remind you that you deserve your downtime and that it should be protected.
#2 Stop Working on Your Commute
Yes it’s tempting to try to get ahead on your journey to work, but how productive are you really while sitting on the Tube? Travel time shouldn’t be lumped in with work time. Your commute is an opportunity to clear your head and prepare mentally for the work ahead, and to wind down after the day is done. Make a pledge to resist the temptation of the inbox and use the time to practice mindfulness, with these tips for commuting. Or why not take the time to listen to a podcast, such as one of our favourite legal podcasts from 2017, or read a book to stimulate your imaginative, creative side. If you don’t have to travel very far, or at all for work, make sure you still allow yourself time either side of your work hours to unwind, even if it means getting up a bit earlier it can make all the difference.
#3 Put Work Related Notifications to Sleep For Good!
Take the time to go through your devices and set them so email/chat notifications don’t interrupt your down time. Most smartphones can put notifications to sleep for a time period of your choosing, and messages marked urgent can override this if you are worried about missing anything important. You even could take it further and do away with notifications altogether. Let’s face it: when we are working we tend to check necessary communication channels through habit anyway; removing the constant ping-ping of devices around us would eliminate a creeping modern day stress point.
#4 Give Up What Isn’t Working
In the quest to better ourselves, we can get so caught up spending time taking part in activities because we feel we should, or because we’ve already committed to it, rather than asking if it is really providing value in our lives. Take an honest look at your regular activities: if there is a feeling of dread when the time for something rolls around, or you’re only really doing it to avoid disappointing someone else, it might be time to reassess. Let go of time consuming activities that have run their course or that you are doing for the wrong reasons, and start investing that time in things you’ve always wanted to do but have been too busy for.
#5 Consider a Career Overhaul
While assessing your work life balance and what isn’t working in your life, you may come to the conclusion that your overall work schedule is the aspect that needs to change. This can seem a process too overwhelming to even contemplate at the beginning of a new year, but you don’t have to abandon your ambitions or sacrifice your career to make big changes in your work life. Why not check out some of the stories from our consultants who have taken a similar leap, and see what could be possible for you in 2018.
What resolutions have you made to improve the quality of your working life? Check out our previous articles on work life balance for more tips on setting boundaries and making work work for you in 2018 and beyond.