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Successful people who manage to find a rewarding work-life balance are those that know where their work week ends and where their weekend begins.
The common saying ‘work hard, play hard’ can mean different things for different people. I believe you can only be fully happy when you ensure your personal life is as fulfilling and enjoyable as your work. I like making the most of my spare time by travelling, exercising, experiencing new things, and simply enjoying the rewards that my work facilitated.
A recent Stanford study found that our productivity sharply declines if we work more than 50 hours a week, so why would we?
Here are 10 tips on how you can make the most of your weekends/days-off and find your work-life balance:
1. Make yourself electronically unavailable
Nowadays our mobile phones can feel like an extra limb, being always attached to or near us and something we can’t imagine living without! However, you can’t switch off for the weekend if your back pocket is buzzing with new emails and impatient voicemails.
Being always on call and available to take emails prevents you from recharging and refocusing. Ideally you should completely detach yourself from work calls and emails over the weekend. If this is not feasible, then try allocating short time slots where you will allow yourself to check your calls/emails.
2. Get active
Sometimes it can be difficult to fit exercise into your busy week, so why not save it for the weekend? Doing as little as 10 minutes of exercise can help reduce stress and also spark creativity.
3. Pursue a passion
Working on something that you are passionate about at the weekends is another great way to relieve stress and open your mind to new things.
4. Chuck the chores
So there are personal chores that you need to do, but do you really need to do them at the weekend? Chores are great at sucking the relaxation out of your weekend and they usually just feel like more work. Try to schedule your chores into your week so that you can really make the most of your weekends, or outsource if possible.
5. Have something to look forward to
Making weekend plans and mini-adventures that you can look forward to will help to keep you motivated and in a good mood all week. In fact, studies show that looking forward to an event/activity plays a significant role in making it so enjoyable.
6. Have family quality time
Taking time-out to spend quality time with your family is important if you want to relax and recharge your batteries. After a busy week in work-mode, the weekend is the perfect time for switching off and catching up on quality time.
7. Keep your body-clock in check
While it may be tempting to use your weekend to catch up on sleep and have long lie-ins, this will disturb your weekly rhythm and make you feel worse come Monday morning. Sleeping past your usual wake-up time can also cause you to feel tired and groggy. Try going to bed earlier rather than indulging in lie-ins.
8. Have “me time”
If you have a busy and demanding family life then it can feel impossible to find time just for yourself. However, making an effort to dedicate a small portion of your time to do something that you enjoy will do wonders for your mood. Early in the morning is usually the best time for this.
9. Take time to reflect
In order to improve, you need to reflect. The weekend, when you should be away from the distractions of your busy week, is the perfect time to take a look at the bigger picture, see what’s happening in your industry and think about your own role and the company you work for. Thinking about these things with a clearer mind will allow you to start afresh on Monday with a plan to be more efficient in your work.
Planning is a great way to improve productivity and reduce stress. If you know that you have a busy week coming up, take the time to plan ahead. It might just be a half an hour on Sunday evening, but it will help you kick-start your week. With a plan in place you will be able to focus on what you want to achieve and feel that your workload is a manageable one.