Kenneth Matabane, Director at ICAS Southern Africa says, “Some employees’ often associate long hours with being more productive. This is not always the case. Working up to 50 or 60 hours a week can often lead to decreased productivity, absenteeism, fatigue and lack of fulfillment in the workplace; as a result employees often find themselves torn between the responsibilities to their career and family.
“In the long run, a work-life balance is beneficial for both employees and employers as well as friends and family members.”
Matabane indicates, “We have noticed a growing need to educate employers and employees alike, about the virtues of a work-life balance and how to implement the guidelines practically in one’s life. While there is no scientific formula to getting the work-life balance right, there are a few guidelines to put you in the right frame of mind to get started.”
- Define what a work-life balance means for you
The key to finding the right balance is in deciding what that means for you and pursuing it. For some people it means keeping updated on what is happening in their children’s lives, for others it means having the energy to be fully present both at home and at work.
- Draw the line between work and time off
How often do you find yourself at your son’s soccer game or at a dinner with your spouse but find yourself constantly checking your emails? Deciding when and how often to be available for work is a challenge faced by most professionals, and while emergencies do crop up, try to keep your professional and personal time separate.
- Plan ahead and prioritise
A great way to increase your free time is to ensure that you use your work time as effectively as possible. When you get to work, immediately write down your top tasks for the day and check off items as you complete them. Writing down a list of tasks according to priority will help you manage your time more effectively.
- Leave work on time
A big challenge for professionals is simply leaving work on time at the end of the work day. There will be times when pressing matters arise that cannot wait until the next day. However, if working late is becoming a habit, there might be a problem. A helpful tip is to structure your tasks and meetings with the view of leaving at a certain time and committing to it.
- Learn to delegate
Even though we may sometimes feel we’re the only one capable of doing something, it’s usually not the case. If there is work that can be done by other members of your team, let them do it.
- Limit time-wasting activities
Part of the reason many people spend extra hours at work is because of time spent on activities such as chatting to colleagues or on social media. Every now and again, we all need some time out, just make sure that this is not taking up too much of your work time.
“Finding a balance between your professional and personal lives is not like a crash diet, but rather, a lifestyle change. Habits are formed not by doing everything at once but by slowly making lasting changes. Start with committing to a health choice and keep building on it,” concludes Matabane.