Reclaim the Balance Between Work and Life

balanceMore and more of us are working on the way to the office and back as there’s always so much to do. Many work at home, which means that the boundary between work and personal life is getting thinner and blurrier than ever before. It feels like you have to be constantly available, it’s just become a part of your life, that same life that seems to be flying by while you toil away at the office, on the way home and when you get home, too. Few of us have perfected the art of detaching ourselves from the everyday pressures at the office and that goes double for those whose office is their home.

It has its perks, no question about it — you can do the washing between tasks or have some quiet time when there’s no immediate work at hand, plus you’re available if you have kids and they need you. Well… sort of available, because you are working, after all. What’s a working woman to do to get back some of her own personal time?

To start with, do a rethink about all the things you do daily and pinpoint what takes up more time than it needs to. Psychologist Marilyn Puder-York recommends cutting off all things that are time-consuming without benefiting you in any way, career or otherwise. For example, a girls’ night out is great, but if the girls are your colleagues and all you talk about is work, then what’s the point? None of you will relax, you’ll just get bogged down further in the problems you’ve gone out to forget for a while. And what about those tedious work tasks that take twice as much time to do as they should, just because they’re so uninteresting that you feel compelled to check your Facebook wall or your Twitter to take a breather? It’s a fact that some routine activities like social networking and email checking take up time that’s better spent finishing up on your current project so you have the time to go, say, for a facial or to the gym. Fine-tuning your time management skills is at the core of what you need to do to be able to see that work-life boundary again.

What happens if there’s no way to cut unnecessary time because there’s no unnecessary time in your tight schedule? There’s a trick that works for some, as long as you’re not the type that needs as much sleep as possible — just get up a couple of hours earlier or, why not, go to bed a couple of hours later than usual to do the enjoyable things you don’t have time for during the hectic day. Granted, if what you like to do is going to the cinema, getting up at 5am won’t do anything for you, but that’s stretching the idea a bit. Any overworked woman will be able to name at least three things she would be doing regularly if only she could make the time. There’s an added advantage to this, and it’s the feeling that you’ve broken the vicious cycle of work-sleep/chores-work, that you may feel trapped in like in a hamster wheel.  The time’s there, it’s not going anywhere, you just need to take it. What three things would you be doing regularly if you could find the time that would help you rebalance your life?