Securing a healthy work life balance is critical for modern professionals.

How to create a solid work-life balance

In such a digitally connected world, it is harder than ever to shut off from work. The incessant pings of emails flowing into your mailbox, the ability to call anyone, anywhere at any time from your mobile phone, all of these factors add up and can make it hard for many professionals to switch off from work to achieve a work-life balance.

Consider this: A Harvard Business School survey found that nearly 95 per cent of participating professionals in the US claimed to work over 50 hours a week and almost half of these respondents reported putting in over 65 hours every week. Yet by and far, experts are in agreement that these excessive hours can be detrimental to personal relationships, general happiness and health.

Work-life balance is critical to the overall happiness of professionals.

When it comes to work-life balance Kiwis fare pretty well. New Zealand claimed the second spot on the list of countries with the best work-life balance, according to HSBC's 2015 Expat Explorer survey.

However, there is always room for improvement. Work-life balance is critical to the overall happiness of professionals. And while at times it may seem near impossible to juggle a fulfilling professional path with a fulfilling home life – it is attainable with a little work. Let's take a look at how to better harmonise the needs of your work and home life.

Start small

While you may be inspired to hit the ground running when it comes to remedying your work-life balance, you should be realistic about your goals at the start. Don't try to drastically alter the chemistry of your life in one quick swoop. As with any major changes, it is best to start small and work your way up to your ideal balance.

Taking too much on too quickly is a recipe for failure, explained Harvard Medical School psychology professor Robert Brooks in an interview with Forbes. "If you're trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience some success. Build from there," says Brooks.

It can be difficult to strike a balance between your work and your personal life. It can be difficult to strike a balance between your work and your personal life.

Be fully present

Whether it be at work or at home, try your hardest to be fully present in every situation. Instead of having your brain halfheartedly in two places at once, focus on giving your complete attention. In a comprehensive study spanning five years comprised of interviews from nearly 4,000 executives across the globe, HBR took a close look at how major players managed to find the balance between their office and home lives. By and large, respondents agreed on one thing: they focussed on devoting their full attention in both spheres.

"When I'm at home, I really am at home," explained one respondent. "I force myself to not check my e-mail, take calls, et cetera. I want to give my kids 100% of my attention. But this also works the other way around, because when I'm at work I really want to focus on work. I believe that mixing these spheres too much leads to confusion and mistakes."

"No" is an important part of a healthy professional vocabulary.

Harness the power of "no" 

Sometimes professionals forget that "no" is an important part of a healthy professional vocabulary. While it is noble to be the office go-getter, you need to remember that you can't possibly do everything at once. Instead of spitting out an automatic yes when someone at work asks for help, take a second to think about if you truly have time left to dedicate to that task. Most importantly, don't feel guilty saying no. You have the right to politely decline a work request if it is going to set you off balance.

Mastering work-life balance really comes down to finding ways to better manage yourself and your time. Implement's Managing Yourself E-learning course can help you get a better grip on these skills. To learn more, check out what the course has to offer you today.

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