A recent mental health foundation survey found that when working longer hours more than a quarter of employees feel depressed (27%); one third feel anxious (34%) and more than half feel irritable (58%).
We’re committed to turning this on its head and making work fit in around life rather than the other way around and although we know that not all of these ideas will work for everyone we thought we’d share some of our ideas mingled in with a few of our favourite quotes on the subject for good measure…
We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to-do list - Michelle Obama
Take care of yourself. This is not really rocket science but how many of us actually do the things we know make a difference to our physical and mental health consistently. Eat nutritious food, take regular exercise and get a good night’s sleep. You can’t help others or do a great job if you don’t look after yourself and your own health first and foremost. Take regular breaks away from your desk, go for a walk, get out into nature, stretch, meditate, do whatever supports you to be at, and stay at, your very best.
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life - Confucius
Love your job. We spend on average over 50% of our total waking hours at work on any given working day. So if that’s the case, you might as well try and find something that you enjoy doing. It’s all too easy to fall into a routine that can leave you bored and unfulfilled. A good question to ask yourself to find what you are passionate about could be “what would I spend my time doing if money was not a concern?”. Then you can work out a plan to work towards making a career change. Or maybe a hobby can become your passion then at least work is helping you pay for something you truly love to do.
When you say yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself - Paulo Coelho
Say No. This is one I find personally really difficult to do and it’s taken me a very long time to learn that sometimes saying “no” is absolutely the right thing to do. Saying “yes” when you need to say “no” causes burnout. Don’t wait until your energy runs out before taking a step back to assess the situation.
The best thing to do to say “no” is to keep responses simple. Just be firm and direct. If you don’t feel comfortable saying “no” outright then you can use phrases like “I’ll get back to you” and then you give yourself time to consider the request properly in terms of being able to deliver quality work and how the additional work will fit into your existing workload.
It’s also helpful to offer an alternative, so perhaps offering to help in a different way or at a later date. And be careful how you deliver the message, it’s probably better delivered in person rather than by email which may not come across as well as you intend. Setting personal boundaries is healthy and shows self care.
Make your own rules or be a slave to another man's - William Blake
Make your own rules. Set your own schedule and block time out in your diary for your salsa class, golf lesson, gym or running session in the same way that you schedule a meeting appointment. When you are in work, decide on a structure that supports you to do your best work. If you create or think better early in the morning then make sure you work that into your routine. Set yourself small goals like focussing for an hour on a specific piece of work before taking a break. Mess also creates stress so clear out the clutter in your office and get more done.
Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes...including you - Anne Lamott
Unplug. These days it can feel like we are constantly connected to our working lives through our smartphones and computers. You can try setting some boundaries about how and when you work, and when you shut your devices off. Giving yourself a chance to wind down in the evening and avoiding the negative impact of the screen light on the quality of your sleep.
There is more to life than simply increasing it's speed - Ghandi
Slow down. Try to notice the small stuff more, the stuff that’s in between the rest of the stuff on our ever increasing to do list. Don’t try and cram so much in, give yourself time between meetings and appointments. Slow it all down, you might find you become more relaxed and more productive and more focussed on the present instead of rushing on to the next thing to do.
To a great mind, nothing is little - Sherlock Holmes
Make small changes. Sometimes the smallest of changes in your life can have an amazing impact. Simple things like getting up 15 minutes earlier so you can do some yoga stretches or mindfulness meditation can help you transform the start to your day which can have a knock on positive effect throughout the rest of your day.
The only mistake you can make is not asking for help - Sandeep Jauhar
Get help. In order to achieve a good life/work balance you need to have a strong support network and have people to help you get through difficult times. You could consider using a virtual personal assistant service such as Zyra. We can help you with whatever needs planning or organising in both your personal or working life. So you can focus on doing what you do best. We also offer Skype or Facetime based personal life coaching to help you make positive changes within your personal/professional life.