Posted on 18/06/2016 by Eloise Kennett
As a Director of a busy Child Care Centre, I spent many lunch breaks tied to my desk, gobbling down some food whilst typing away or answering calls. In addition, staying back at work so late that when I arrived home I would fall into a heap with exhaustion! After years of this lifestyle my health declined and stress levels increased.
In an epiphany like moment, I put my foot down on my approach to work and my limited work life balance. It was in this moment I had clarity about my work situation and realised that having a lunch break and leaving on time did not reflect on my commitment or work ethic. I decided to make some work life balance changes and noticed that there was no decline in my workload efficiency simply because I stepped away from my desk for half an hour lunch break each day.
Reflecting on my previous approach to work, I realised that in fact overworking was affecting my ability to perform. On many occasions I felt as though I would have been better off sleeping at work rather than staying back late and arriving early. It slowly became evident that a tired and grumpy Director was no good to anyone.
Of course in any role staying back after finish time, skipping a lunch break or taking after hour’s emergency calls is sometimes required. This is not something that will happen every day so when it does, you do what needs to be done to fulfil your job. However, creating a good work life balance certainly doesn’t mean that you need to walk out the door at 5:00pm regardless of what might be happening or will not respond to out of hours emergencies. Instead, it means you can focus on a more efficient working approach throughout your day. Then it is a reward to leave at a reasonable hour.
Maintenance of this balance is achieved by focusing on prioritising. Set yourself a list of goals to be achieved before you take your lunch break. Take some time to step outside the office, get somefresh air and walk around the block. Give yourself the opportunity to switch off and focus on you for a moment, allowing yourself to regroup for the remainder of the day. Taking time away from your desk will most likely result in a more productive afternoon if you are refreshed and clear headed!
Making these changes can be a process; habits are not usually changed overnight and training yourself to switch off can be a huge task. Yet, when you do reach that point of balance, I assure you that you will reap the rewards of having a more efficient and productive day and relaxing lifestyle outside of the office! Give it a try, what have you got to lose?