Balancing act

Work-life balance
Reclaim your work-life balance with a mix of time management, commitment and prioritisation.

With its vice-like grip on our lives, technology has blurred the lines between work and play. Add to this the fact that smartphones allow people to maintain personal and professional information on the same device and you have the perfect storm in the making.

Many of us have set checking emails and phone messages on default – overlapping with personal and family time. The crux of the matter is: most people assume that online presence means someone is available to work – no matter the time of day or night. Worse still, we feel obliged to reply as soon as possible.

Burn-out and damaged relationships are bound to raise their ugly heads if we don’t start establishing work-life boundaries: managing our time our way and not according to the whims of associates, bosses or clients. So: out with the old and in with the new.

Schedules rule

A diary is a mighty useful tool. Overlay ongoing tasks and enter work schedules, to-do lists, meetings, family events and whatnot on your calendar. Manage your timetable religiously. This investment allows you to focus on pertinent work, fulfill personal commitments and still have time to take care of numero uno.

Go offline

Create dedicated offline time with auto responders on your email and phone every day and stick to that come hell or high water. Reserve offline time strictly for focusing on critical work, as well as family time.

Look out for number one

Get up from your desk often, stretch, do a few squats and lunges, drink loads of water and take a lunch break. If you tend to skip these, set phone reminder alarms.

But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So book periods for daily exercise, family time, catch-up with friends, good meals and laughter. Oh, and do head for the hills regularly. A change of scene stimulates mind, body and soul.

The power of ‘no’

There’s nothing more liberating than that single syllable. Saying ‘no’ happens to be a critical skill in setting boundaries and allowing you to stay on course.

The last word

Just can’t say it any better than Brian Dyson, Coca-Cola’s former VC, “Imagine life as a game in which you’re juggling some five balls in the air. You name them: work, family, health, friends and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these in the air. You’ll soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it’ll bounce back. But the other four balls are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they’ll be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered.” If you understand that, you’ll definitely strive for balance in your life.