We are all looking for the perfect balance between work and life. Given the economic scenario and the number of jobs being lost daily, most of us feel the need to work harder and longer than ever. Just as managing your career means allocating your time wisely amongst different projects, managing your personal life also mean giving adequate time to family and self.

“I have lots of work” – This isn’t a sufficient reason to continue to work extra hours. In fact, you might look like someone who can’t manage time or isn’t up to the responsibilities of the job. Given below are the five tips that would help you achieve that perfect balance:

Acknowledge that you need help: You need to be able to realise that all work and no play (or vice versa) doesn’t get you anywhere. For a holistic life, we should be able to work hard and play hard – however we should have the ability to distinguish between the two and be able to do both wisely.

Decide on targets: Hold yourself accountable for the personal and the professional targets you decide. However, have realistic goals, once you achieve them, you can raise the bar. Make sure that you have these in mind at all times.

Create tasks: In the morning, create a list of to do’s that you need to accomplish throughout the day as the basis your targets. List them in order of importance. Cross off a task once accomplished, this will show you that you’re getting things done. Use time management tools to help you manage time better. This will also help you avoid procrastination. Most of the stress usually comes from being disorganised and keeping things for later. If you see your to-do list getting out of hand, speak to your supervisor so that someone in your team can share your load. Remember – having extended working hours to meet a deadline is completely acceptable – it just shouldn’t become the norm. This way you can simplify things. Learn to say no to tasks that you cannot handle. To over-promise and to under-deliver is not acceptable.

Explore your options: There are many ways in which you can approach your work. Doing everything that comes your way, saying no, doing your bit and delegating the rest. Asking for help is not a sign of failure. It means that you appreciate your time and wouldn’t mind others helping you to accomplish a task. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your family responsibilities, get help if you can afford it. Let things go once in a while. It’s easier said than done, but sometimes saying no is perhaps the best thing one can do in a situation. Sharing the load is another secret to a happy life. As they say, it’s not about doing different things – but doing things differently!

If nothing else works, negotiate with your current employer on other options such as flexi-time, job sharing, telecommuting, part-time employment. If nothing else works, look for a new job or career change – maybe that’s what you need. However, think long and hard before you take that road.

The key word is balance. You need to be able to find the right balance that works for you. There is a time to leave work behind and a productive employee will find time to do exactly that.

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