How many times have you stayed late after work this week, or sent mom’s calls to voicemail because you’re working through lunch? Yeah, the demands of the modern workplace have never been greater.

Truth is no matter how good you are at your job, you probably often think that you could be doing more, especially at a time when many companies in South Africa have slashed their ranks – and expect more of the survivors! Just not enough hours in the day, right?

Call it work-life balance, work-life coexistence or simply life, but balancing responsibilities can be a challenge in an “always-on” world. Phones and connected devices make it easier than ever to stay entangled in work duties after-hours. Even when we’re off work, it’s easy to feel that we’re still right there!

Sweden made headlines in2015 after it was reported that the country was moving to a 6 hour work day in a bid to increase productivity and make people happier. Did you know that only 1% of Swedes work more than 50 hours a week?!  Ok, so maybe they have something here. Also, France might pass a law that makes it illegal to send after-hours work e-mails! Interesting, don’t you think?

Fact is, everyone and their mother seems to have a strong opinion about work-life balance, but, even if you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work, you should never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Being more balanced doesn’t call for a dramatic overhaul of your life. A few small steps can go a long way to keep you sane:

  • Visualise your week. Build downtime into your schedule. Date night, movie night with the family or happy hour with friends will give you something to look forward to.
  • Wake up early. Take advantage of small blocks of time. 10 minutes extra in the morning will help you to prepare for the day – even if it means 5 minutes to have coffee by yourself.
  • Fight the guilt. Superman and Superwoman are fictional characters. Stop feeling guilty if you miss the occasional soccer game.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well.
  • Get moving. It’s hard to fit exercise into a jam packed schedule, but it will boost your energy and your ability to concentrate.
  • Ignite your joy. Do something that you love every day. Take a bath, read a trashy novel or go for a walk to recharge your batteries.
  • Learn to say “no”. Don’t let other people’s opinions force you to do something that you don’t have time, energy or enthusiasm for.
  • Ask for help. Delegate tasks to co-workers at work and to your partner and kids at home.
  • Leave work at work. Learn how to push the “off” button. Have clear, tangible boundaries.
  • Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius.
  • Protect your private time. Ban technology at certain times to be able to focus on family and friends.
  • Rethink your idea of clean. Unmade beds and dust are not signs of failure. If you can afford it; pay someone to clean your house. Spend more time doing the things you love.

Simple concepts, right? Truth is if you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may not like their idea of balance!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.