Five tips to establish a work-life balance

by By Latashni Gobi Nathan (latagn@sph.com.sg)
published on 20 June 2016

How to strive a balance between work and your personal life?

We try to aim high at work in order to achieve our goals and succeed but we end up not having enough time for our personal lives.

Here are some tips on managing time at work in order to have a better work-life balance.

Be oragnised

A good way to ensure you do not waste unnecessary time on a task is to plan your work in advance.

Mr Eugene Seah, a senior consultant who specialises in personal branding and leadership said keeping an updated calendar helps to prioritise his work.

He said: “Once a week, I plan my work for the next four weeks. Every item on my to-do list gets slotted into specific dates based on their urgency and importance. If there are tasks on my to-do list that do not get slotted in, it means that they are neither important nor urgent. I constantly update my calendar and follow the schedule. This prevents me from procrastinating any work.”

Even if other newer tasks get assigned to you, the method will still work to your advantage as you would then know how to move things around.

Ms Karen Foo Cho Wan, a motivational speaker who has conducted seminars for working professionals said: “Break down the project down into a set of tasks, list out the ways you can approach them and the deadlines for each of those tasks. Having a list helps you to keep track if you are on track to achieving your objectives. It also gives you more clarity and focus in your work. Remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Handling excessive work

When you feel like you have too much on your plate, it means that in some area of your job there is a weakness. Whether it is you receiving work than usual or you not being able to keep up, finding the reason and a solution is key.

Mr Seah said: “You are either not planning your time well, have more work than what is normal or simply do not feel motivated because you are in the wrong job. If it is either of the first two, try talking to your boss or a colleague to get help in taking the load off. If it is the latter, reflect on your strengths and passion, and consider changing your jobs. When you have passion in your job, you seldom feel that it is excessive.”

Should your colleague help with taking over your task, remember to repay the courtesy by returning the favour.

Ms Foo said: “Collaboration at the work place is common. By asking for help, you can get more done as you are able to put your focus on getting the small and achievable tasks done. This not only helps you eliminate stress but also helps improve your focus. Having too much work can jeopardise the quality of your work. Don’t risk passing up mediocre work when someone else can get it done better. Return the favour when they need help the next time.”

Bringing work home

Do not aim to bring work home. As much as possible, get majority of the work done in the office and leave the rest to the following day. But it also depends on the kind of person you are. If you are able to focus outside of the office, then bringing work home may be a good idea for you.

Mr Seah said: “Thanks to technology, we can work anytime and anywhere. The challenge is self-discipline. If you bring work home, can you focus? Or you will be easily distracted? There are many occasions where I produced the best piece of work late at night after my children have slept. Take work home if you think it will not affect your family time.”

Not everybody works with the same style. If your boss understands that, try asking for more flexible work arrangements.

“Should you bring work home, I suggest getting doing a 30 minute workout right before you work. It puts your body and mind into the best state and gets your creative juices flowing,” she said.