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Get ahead, stay balanced

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Work-life balance tips

  • Decide what the right balance is for you.
  • Set priorities and stick to them.
  • Look after your health, fitness and mental wellbeing.
  • Reduce stress wherever you can.

More information

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By Hannah Nicholas
MSN NZ Money writer

Getting ahead in your career is often about having the right balance in your life — that is, getting the time spent between work and play in the right proportion. Getting this balance right can be tricky. Let us set you on the right path.

What is work-life balance?
The work-life balance concept started as a means of looking at the impact of family demands on work, but in recent times it's been broadly extended to include the impact work has on individual levels of stress, relationships, family and wellbeing.

What's right for you?
Getting the balance between work and your home life right will ultimately depend on your stage in life. Obviously the priorities of a young worker will be very different to those of a working mother or father or someone close to retirement. So it's important to reassess what works and doesn't work at different stages of your career. For example, it might be more than acceptable for someone in their younger years to work longer hours and attend a lot of after-hours events but this might not sit well with those workers with a family.

How to get it right?
Set priorities. Once you've established the right balance for yourself, set clear and precise goals. For example, I will only work back two nights a week or I will limit checking my e-mail on the weekend to only an hour or two.

Don't lose sight of what's important. While many of us live for our jobs, having a life outside work is vital for wellbeing. So make time to see friends and family on a regular basis and think about taking up a sport or hobby to broaden your mind and improve your fitness level.

Top tips for the right balance

At home

  • Learn to switch off — mentally and technology-wise.
  • Maintain your health and fitness.
  • Get enough sleep — eight hours a night is vital.
  • Learn to say no — don't over-commit yourself at weekends and after hours.
  • Set aside dedicated time to spend with family and friends.
  • Take me-time to do the things you love.

At work:

  • Stress less — learn how to reduce your stress levels in the workplace.
  • Avoid conflict — one of the biggest factors in office stress levels.
  • Take time off — be sure to use up your annual leave and take a lunch break every now and then.
  • Push your mind — further study can do wonders for both your career and mental health.
  • Speak with your employer about flexible working arrangements — ie. working from home or job-sharing.

User comments
My hubby and I both work hard 5 days a week.Our daughter lives in Japan and our son lives in Canada.Both working there.Saturdays we play golf then meet up at friends homes for a meal and a drinks.Sundays we sleep in then go for drives either to the Coromandel or Titirangi to visit friends.Sometimes we just go away Friday after work Camping back Sunday eveing.Its very important to have time to ourselves and enjoy life.I love shopping so while my guy's playing golf sometimes Im out with my friends shopping and just have a girlie day.Also must eat healthy.Breakfast is very important so eat a healthy breky to start the day off.I love cereals so I never miss my cereals and fruits.Keep fit and just enjoy with no stress.