Figuring out work-life balance is tricky when you’re starting something new, be it a new job, new course, or even a new term. It’s easy to take a black and white approach, committing yourself to too many things and too long hours at a desk, or the opposite, leaving everything to the last minute because you just want to chill with friends and family. Here we address some of the best ways to be productive, enjoy life and keep on top of everything to be relaxed and healthy.

Set your work hours

The best way to maintain your work-life balance it is to set yourself work hours. Some people work best with a start and finish time – like 9-5. But this isn’t for everyone. You could also just set “work blocks”. Say, you want to work an 8 hour day, do a 2-hours in the morning, 4 hours in the afternoon and 2 in the evening. The timing of when those blocks happen, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that each block has a start and finish point and, it is solely dedicated to work and nothing else.

Get out of bed on the right side!

Sometimes you may leave yourself no other option but to roll out of bed, turn your laptop on and get stuck in but this is actually really bad for your creativity and productivity. It shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. Alternatively, Create a morning routine that works for you. Perhaps, go to the gym, make time for breakfast or just sit with a cup of coffee and chat with your house mates for 30 minutes.

Take breaks

No matter how you structure your working hours, remember to take regular breaks. Whenever you get up to make yourself a coffee, take 10-15 minutes away from your workspace. Go for a walk round the block or read a different book for a few minutes. Whatever it is that you do, make sure it’s not work related. Give your mind a break. Taking regular breaks will keep you refreshed and on track. This means that during your working time, you’ll be more productive and efficient, meaning fewer hours required to get the job done.Bottom of Form

Exercise

Exercise is so great for refreshing yourself, so make sure you factor this into your week. Even if you just do some 15 minutes stretches or a quick jog around the block – these will get the oxygen flowing into your brain. Staying active is great for your brain and your body, so boost that mind-body connection.

Eat well

You are what you eat, so don’t just take the easy route and fill yourself with kebabs, McDonalds and microwave meals. Make sure you’re getting your 5-a-day, especially something green like spinach, broccoli or kale. And if you don’t like those things – invest in a cheap blender and chuck them in with some bananas, coconut milk and honey.

Switch off after work

Sounds easy right? But to really switch off you should get away from the distractions of daily life. Switch off your phone for a couple of hours and focus on being in the present moment, whether that’s catching up with friends, watching a film or doing some meditation for 20 minutes. Switching off is notoriously hard to do as we’ve becoming increasingly reliant on smartphones and technology to inform ourselves each moment we come up with an idea. Smartphones are making us dumber so be aware and give yourself a break from your phone for a few hours a day.

Group hugs

Don’t always prioritise work before friends and family. Making time for your nearest and dearest will help you to keep your head when life gets stressful. It’s amazing what a little input from people who care about you can do. Advice from family is usually more helpful than you think it will be so don’t brush them off too quickly!

Plan ahead

Planning ahead is one of the most useful ways to work-life balance. It helps to get things done in time an when you expect so that you can then respond spontaneously to invitations from friends to go out or do something fun. It’s great for not feeling guilty about going out at the last minute. And it’s also great for being able to switch off completely from work and stress. So get a calendar on your wall and a diary on your desk!

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

If you’re stuck in a rut with work or studies, ask someone for help. Even if they don’t always know the answer, they might know someone else who can help. Don’t let getting stuck stop you from getting unstuck as it’ll throw your schedule and your plans out of whack!

Work isn’t the be all & end all!

There is more to life than work and getting the best grades, so don’t let it take over your life. Staying happy and fulfilled are overall going to keep you going more than your job or your studies. It doesn’t matter how much you love your job or how much money you make, being human and having a balanced life is what it’s all about!


Also published on Medium.