A work-life balance — the best gift you can give yourself this Christmas

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Ah, Christmas. A time to wind down, put the feet up and knock back the obligatory handful of Alka-Seltzer after consuming 16,000 calories for lunch. Clearly, if there’s one thing Christmas isn’t about, it’s balance. But that’s kind of what we love about it!

But what about the rest of the year?

If you’ve been putting work ahead of your social life for the past 12 months, your work-life balance probably needs fine-tuning. So, what better time than Christmas — the glorious season of imbalance, to work on bringing a bit more harmony to the rest of your life.

The great news? Establishing a work-life balance is a lot easier than you might think. Here are 6 top tips for you to work on from day one back in the office.

1.Get efficient, get effective.  

Imagine if you spent less time in the office but achieved more in your day. Dream scenario, right? Well, you can actually take your foot off the gas and be a better worker. Seriously. It all comes down to being more efficient.

The Pareto Principle, often called the 80/20 rule, basically states that 20% of your input produces 80% of your output. Translated? If you work out which tasks are most essential and focus in on them like a laser beam you’ll get more done.

So, if you’re the kind of person who replaces the toner cartridge whenever it runs out just for a quick break from work, it might be time for a rethink.

2. Freedom from email

Email addiction is part of 21st century life. In fact, you’re essentially hardwired into wanting to check your emails thanks to a little chemical in your brain called dopamine. So basically, being addicted to email … not your fault.

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Still, avoiding work emails at home is important. Crucially, it’ll help you get that mental distance from the office. You’ll also feel less distracted, more relaxed, and when you do head into work the next day you’ll feel good to go. Try turning off your email notifications when you get home to avoid temptation.

3. Go, walk out the door!

It goes without saying that sometimes you need to stay late to get the job done. But working beyond your office hours every day can become routine. Don’t be that person. Commit to leaving on time — every day.

Mentally committing to working your fixed office hours and walking out the door on time each day will help you get into a regular pattern. It’ll also stop you from bouts of time wasting if you know you’ve got that home time deadline looming.

Ask yourself, “Can that report wait until tomorrow?” If it can, leave it. Get your coat on, hold your head high, and race to the door before your boss calls you back for one of those quick end-of-day ‘catch-ups.’

4. Love your lunch hour

It’s time to claim back your hard-earned right – the office lunch hour! Taking a lunch break can have all kinds of amazing benefits. It can boost your productivity and even make you feel happier. Woo-hoo!

So, chat with your colleagues, take a walk, do some window shopping, go rollerblading in the park if you fancy it. Whatever you do, try and give yourself a full hour. You’ll be amazed at how a mental break and a change of scene can do you the power of good — making you feel far more motivated and refreshed for the afternoon ahead.

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5. Escape familiarity

Come the weekend, lounging around in your pyjamas eating crisps all day is a pretty tempting way to spend your time.  But escaping your familiar surroundings now and then can do wonders for the soul.

Get away for the weekend, catch up with friends, go for dinner or get crazy and throw yourself into a brand new hobby. Part of rediscovering a work-life balance involves spending your free time doing new and exciting things.

6. You don’t have to be perfect

Whisper it quietly, but not every piece of work you do requires perfection. Let’s be honest, adjusting the font type for the twenty-eighth time on that presentation you’re working on probably won’t change the world. So let go and move on with your day.

Sure, get the important stuff done to the best of your ability, but don’t stress out over everything little thing you do. You’ll quickly realise you can deliver great work without having to bust a gut over every aspect of your job. And life will suddenly start to feel a whole lot lighter!

Conclusion – committing to making it happen

Changing old habits to establish a healthy work-life balance can take real commitment, but it’s completely within your grasp.

Sure, making a few changes might feel unnatural at first, even a little uncomfortable. But the potential benefits are huge — more free time with friends and family, more time doing the things you love and a general sense of simply feeling happier.

So this Christmas, the season of joyful imbalance, pick at least one thing from this list that you can put into action and start the New Year with a little bit harmony in your life.

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