Setting goals for a balanced work and home life

Before you can really think about how to balance your work and life, you need first to assess your current situation. Try these two very simple online tests.

Before you can set any goals to improve your worklife balance, you need to first assess your current situation. Try these two very simple online tests.

Work life wizard

To find out where there may be imbalances between your home and work lives, try our simple test.

Take the Worklife Balance test

The Work-Life balance tool is designed to give you an assessment of you work demands and workload and how this relates to your personality, work style and work-life balance.

This is not a psychometric assessment, but is designed to help you to identify issues and reflect on your own work circumstances.

Wheel of wellbeing

Life's about balance....find out how you fare with this interactive tool. Welcome to the Wheel of Wellbeing.

Take the Wheel of wellbeing test

This exercise is designed to help you to look at the balance between a wide range of areas in your life. By improving this balance, you can improve your wellbeing.

This is an opportunity for you to reflect on the state of your wellbeing and identify areas of your life you would like to change.

Assessing your own worklife balance

Before you can really think about how to balance your work and life, you need to understand what the current situation is.

If you have worked through the workload section, look back at the diary of your working activities.

Try this simple exercise, to give you a better idea.

Exercise 1 - Balance

Choose an option for each question:

Doing my job and developing my career 

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

Personal administrative tasks (e.g., cleaning, shopping, paying bills, commuting)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

Physical wellbeing (e.g., eating healthily, sleeping well, physical activity)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Emotional wellbeing: (doing things that make me feel happy, fulfilled)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Intellectual wellbeing: (learning new things, intellectual challenges)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Close relationships: (e.g., spending time with and caring for family, close friends, pets)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Other relationships (e.g., socialising, community involvement)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Personal development/ relaxation (e.g., contemplative/ spiritual activities, being in nature, engaging with an art form)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Other hobbies

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

 

Free time (e.g., time when you can rest, do nothing or whatever you wish)

The amount of time and energy I spend on this activity is

too much______________________ about right _____________________not enough

Take a look at the results. What do you think? Are there any areas that are out of balance for you at the moment?  Are you surprised by any of the results? Which ones might be the most important to change?

Setting your own goals

Once you have assessed your current work life balance, you can begin to set some goals about changing or maintain your worklife balance.

Decide which of these statements describes you best:

I want to improve my worklife balance

So you have decided that you want to balance your life at work and at home?

It can be helpful to start by setting smaller goals for changes in your general work pattern than to tackle everything at once.

Look back at the diary you made of how you work. Ask yourself what patterns you might be able to change and set yourself specific goals. Make sure to write your goals in a positive way. Goals become easier to accomplish when you focus on the benefit and not the problem.

  • Set a time to finish each term night. I will finish no later than 6pm on weekdays, so that I can exercise and eat properly.
  • Set free time on weekends and / or on some weeknights. I will take two nights off during the week and have one completely free day during the week, so that I can spend time with my family.
  • Think about signing up to a regular, scheduled activity or group, such as a spinning class or book club. This will ensure that you make time each week or month for an activity you enjoy.
  • Set personal goals you want to achieve. “I want to learn to play the piano.” “I want to go to the gym twice a week.”
  • Start slowly. You can’t expect to change your entire life overnight. Introduce small changes, such as set 15 minute relaxation breaks into your schedule. As you begin to get used to these breaks and your work patterns adapt, gradually increase the length of these breaks.
  • Schedule a break during the day. Research from Bupa in January 2011 found that only three in ten UK workers take a lunch break, but almost half of those questioned (48%) felt that there productivity plummeted in the afternoon around 3pm and as a result loss 40 minutes of their day due to the dip.
  • Set time to Exercise. Although, it is often one of the first things to go, when feeling stressed, exercise will not only boost your energy levels, but help you get more things done more effectively as a result.
  • Set goals to separate your home and work? Could you stay a little longer at school or college and complete your work there, thereby keeping your home for you? If you do have to work at home, where is your desk? Is it in your bedroom or where you relax? This can disrupt sleep, because the work is physically still in the room with you. If possible, try to have your desk and work in a separate room, where you can close the door, and only need to go into to work. If this is impossible, move your work out of your bedroom before you go to sleep.

I am happy with my worklife balance

If you are already happy with the balance of your work and home lives, you may want to think about how you maintain it.

  • Look back at the diary you made of how you work. Ask yourself what patterns you might be able to change and set yourself some realistic goals.
  • Be prepared. Priorities can change over the course of a year, not to mention over the length of a career. What can you put in place now to ensure that your work and life remain balanced in the future?
  • Set time to Exercise. Although, it is often one of the first things to go, when feeling stressed, exercise will not only boost your energy levels, but help you get more things done more effectively as a result.
  • Schedule a break during the day. Research from Bupa in January 2011 found that only three in ten UK workers take a lunch break, but almost half of those questioned (48%) felt that there productivity plummeted in the afternoon around 3pm and as a result loss 40 minutes of their day due to the dip.
  • Set goals to physically separate your home and workspace. Could you stay a little longer at school or college and complete your work there, thereby keeping your home for you? If you do have to work at home, where is your desk? Is it in your bedroom or where you relax? This can disrupt sleep, because the work is physically still in the room with you. If possible, try to have your desk and work in a separate room, where you can close the door, and only need to go into to work. If this is impossible, move your work out of your bedroom before you go to sleep.

Write your goals down

Once you have set yourself goals, write them down. You are far more likely to achieve your goals, once you have written them down as these two examples show: In 1964, all members of the Harvard Business School graduating class stated that they have, at graduation, clear goals that they want to accomplish in life. Among them, 5% took the time to write it down on paper. In 1984, a follow up study was done and it was discovered that 95% of those who wrote down their goals were able to achieve them within 20 years. Among the other graduates, only 5% of them were able to reach their expected goals. An earlier study in Yale University also had similar results. This time, only 3% of the 1953 graduating class made written goals. Twenty years after, in 1973, it was found out that this 3% of Yale graduates were able to accomplish more goals than the rest of the other 97% combined. (http://fitzvillafuerte.com/the-importance-of-writing-down-your-goals-on-...)

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