10 tips to achieve a healthy work/life balance

One of the biggest challenges I have faced since becoming a dad is the difficulty of managing to strike a healthy balance between work and my family life following my return to the office after paternity leave.

Those first days back in the office were a real shock to the system. Everything changes, and managing to remain interested and engaged with work when really all I want to do is be at home playing with the little one is really tough. Conversely, as someone who actually enjoys my job, it has been a challenge to not get drawn back into the old routines of staying late and constantly being on emails late into the night…

However, after 3 months I am now managing to get a good work/life balance (although my wife may disagree!) and so thought I would share my top 10 tips. Hope they are of some use to some of you!

  1. Leave work on time: It is so easy to get dragged into one more meeting or one more phone call at the end of the day, but leaving work on time (especially if like me you have a long commute) is vital to get some quality time each evening.
  2. Take your lunch hour: Working efficiently will mean you have more time to NOT work, and giving yourself a break during the day to clear your head is a great way to make the afternoon as time efficient as the morning.
  3. Switch off your emails in the evening: Recently I discovered that I can turn off my work emails on my iPhone. This has been a revelation, and has stopped me from constantly checking my messages all evening.
  4. Stop checking Facebook/Twitter at your desk: Social media is an absolute time-hole… I now try to not check my twitter or facebook till I am on the train home (although it is not always possible to resist the temptation to check out the latest viral cat video!)
  5. Try to avoid pointless meetings: My work life is plagued by constant meetings. Meetings about meetings about meetings… My new approach is to only go to meetings I HAVE to be in, again freeing up more time to actually get my work done.
  6. Write achievable to do lists: A to do list is a great thing. An achievable to do list is even better. Great for motivation, and to mean you really can feel ok about leaving on time.
  7. Enjoy the weekend: No checking work emails at the weekend. These are precious times, so make the most of them!
  8. Snooze on the commute: I have a long commute, and so making use of this to catch up on sleep can be invaluable. Check out my blog on the subject of how I use my FitBit for more on this… https://tireddaddyuk.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/day-29-the-one-gadget-a-new-dad-cant-live-without/
  9. Go to bed: When the little one is final asleep, take advantage, and get some sleep too. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WATCH JUST ONE MORE EPISODE ON NETFLIX!
  10. Remember why you go to work: We go to work to earn money, to spend time with those we love. Remember this when work is getting you down, and even the most crappy days will get that bit easier!
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