We live in a time-poor era where everything has to be done yesterday and our to-do list is ever-growing. Achieving work-life balance is an everyday challenge for many of us and it can sometimes feel more like a dream than a reality that can be realized. In the pursuit of a less frenetic life, simply the ability to get out of the office early can be of tremendous help to achieve a minimum level of work-life balance.
After all, no amount of yoga, meditation, massages or escapes to paradisal destinations would keep us feeling rejuvenated for long if we barely get enough hours in a day to relax or sleep. Try the five tips below to help you out:
- Push back unreasonable deadlines and negotiate for a feasible timeline.
Some days at work can feel like a race against the clock to meet seemingly endless requests in time to leave the office on time. It’s important to manage the demands of our internal and external stakeholders, such as our co-workers and clients, so that we do not have a plateful of deadlines and end up letting work eat into our restful nights. Make it a habit to say no to unreasonable or overly tight deadlines and counteroffer with a more feasible timeline.
- Plan activities after work or dinners with family and friends.
Human beings are habitual creatures. When we’re used to leaving work at a certain hour, we’ll stay in the office until our usual leaving time even when we’re done for the day. To motivate ourselves to leave work at a reasonable hour, plan after-work activities such as yoga, theatre performance or a movie or dinner with family or friends to get yourself out of the office. Alternatively, push yourself to wrap up work at a decent hour by imposing a penalty and donating the money to a charity of your choice each time you fail to abide with this new habit during a non-busy period at work.
- Make the most of lunchtime for me-time, exercise and nourishing food.
It may be counterintuitive to take breaks when trying to power through a busy workday, but the rewards of doing so are immeasurable. Using the lunchtime to reset and rejuvenate yourself is like taking a wonder pill for productivity. Make use of that precious time to carve out some me-time, connect with friends, nourish your body with wholesome food or move your body via a walk or a quick workout.
- Reduce needless extra work by leveraging on existing materials.
How often do we take a moment to reflect and plan before plunging headlong into a new set of tasks? By taking a step back and recounting what existing work you can use, you save yourself the effort of creating unnecessary additional work. As a bonus, by doing so, you’ll produce a refined and improved version of previously created work in a shorter time than if you had started from scratch.
- Set clear expectations that you’ll leave work on time.
Make it a point to leave work at a set, reasonable hour every day after having completed your important and urgent tasks. If there’s any reason why you can’t finish your work in time, communicate to your colleagues, manager or clients and leave after receiving their understanding and arriving at a compromise. Strive to get the people you work with accustomed to the working hours that you’ve set.
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