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New Caitlin Reid Blog: Work – Life Balance

With 30 per cent of us saying that work affects our social lives, it’s no wonder so many of us what to achieve a better work-life balance on a fundamental looking-after-myself level. Here Caitlin Reid, nutritionist and fitness expert shows you how.

All of us want to achieve work-life balance. That is, the ability to effectively manage our paid work and career goals with our personal responsibilities and community interests. Yet for many of us, the dream of achieving work-life balance remains unrealised. We now work longer hours than ever before, and technology like the smart phone make us contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Being on call around the clock blurs the distinction between work and home life. This in turn escalates our stress levels and deprives us of valuable time with our loved ones. Late night phone calls disrupt our sleep, making us a sleep-deprived nation. Inadequate sleep increases the likelihood of developing obesity, heart disease and diabetes, while at the same time reducing our productivity levels and making overtime essential in a sickening cycle.

Too much work means we miss personal milestones, neglect our health, lose the ability to relax and fail to contribute to the community. While it may be difficult to strike a balance between work, home, community and personal time, neglecting just one of these areas can threaten the vitality of all. To achieve better work-life balance in your life, follow these tips:

Prioritise: Decide what is most important to you. Is it your health, family or career? When you have determined your priorities, keep a log and assess how much time each week you spend on each of these areas. You should see a correlation between the two, but if there isn’t, chances are you’re devoting too much time to activities that matter the least to you. These tasks should be outsourced or stopped if possible.

Manage your time: During both work and home life, allocate your time efficiently. At the end of each day, set your priorities for the following day and designate a strict time frame for each. Be realistic about what you can achieve during this time, so that you don’t take on too much work. At home, spread the chores out over the course of the week, instead of leaving them all until the weekend.

Protect your private time: Create a distinction between work and home life by going for a walk, reading a book or having a bath when you get home from work. Avoid being available 24 hours a day by switching off all electronic media such as mobile phones and computers when arriving home. Use this time to improve relationships with family and friends or recharge with some alone time.

Learn to say ‘no’: Many of us find it hard to say ‘no’ when asked to do things by others. But it is perfectly fine to do so, particularly when these tasks are creating you unnecessary stress or taking up so much time you haven’t any time left to sleep. By losing the things you take on out of guilt, you’ll make more time for the activities that really mean the most to you.

Caitlin Reid is exercise physiologist, accredited nutritionist and author of “Health & The City“.


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