With the Easter break coming to a close and ANZAC day approaching, we have been given a great opportunity to take a step back from our desks to unwind, unplug and recharge. As the to-do list at work begins to spiral out of control and we lose our footing in life, we need to remember “balance is not something you find, it’s something you create”. Prioritise: You Balance is required for us to perform at our best, both at work and in our personal lives. Through the chaos at work we need to find ways to keep ourselves centred. This can only be achieved when you draw a line and learn how to put yourself at the top of your ‘to do list’. If you are one of those people who say ‘Yes’ to everything, you may be taking on too much. This may result in you overworking yourself to the point you’re making mistakes, and you’re no longer completing tasks or projects to the best of your ability. You’re burning out! There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘No’ if you don’t have capacity or are unable to perform a task. In this instance, let your manager know and ask your colleagues for their support. Don’t feel guilty for knowing and respecting your limits. If you communicate your concerns clearly and in a timely manner, your team will be able to assist you where they can and free up your time when needed. Mind over matter A healthy mind is interdependent on a healthy body. Our general lifestyle choices can determine our daily activities and how well we can perform the balancing act of life. Those who surround themselves with positive people who lead active lifestyles, tend to adopt similar traits or attitudes. If you feel sluggish, lazy and have no motivation, ask a mate who enjoys physical activity to help out by allowing you to join them. Participate in a fitness, yoga or dance class; get a personal trainer or a training buddy. Accountability is key when you need an extra push forward to do something. Start your day early to fit more in – this doesn’t necessarily mean for exercise, but also to be more productive. Grab a coffee on your way to work, walk the dog, or use the time to run errands. We often neglect the fact that small tasks tend to add up, particularly if we put them off until later in the day. Along with keeping our bodies healthy and active, the mind needs to be taken care of too. It’s crucial for us to maintain our mental health, especially when signs of stress and fatigue are prominent. Firstly, ensure you’re getting enough sleep, as this can make or break your day. We also need to give our brains a break with time to tune out on a regular basis. This can be done through meditation, going for a walk, doing something artistic, or maybe even indulging in watching your favourite TV show. Sometimes we need to reboot our minds, just as we do with our computers! These are a few of my favourite things Now here’s the fun part – we all have something we long to do, whether it’s something extreme like bungee jumping, or an interest in pottery or flower arrangement. We often hear ‘I wish I could do that, but…’ or ‘I want to do that, but…’ The only thing stopping you is yourself. It takes one phone call or a few clicks to book an activity. We have our weeknights and weekends to do whatever we like, so take advantage of this time. If at this stage you’re still making excuses, you have to ask yourself how much you want to do that particular activity and whether you are willing to reprioritise other things to make it happen. Just as you can procrastinate with your work and studies, procrastinating with your everyday tasks may result in not having time to do the things you really want to do. If you want free time to do those things, you’re going to have to make it! Time off We have annual leave for a reason, so use it. Annual leave isn’t necessarily reserved only for vacations, but rather it needs to be seen as a way we can achieve some work-life balance. If you feel you need to spend more time with family or you simply need to take a break to catch up with life, do it. Take time off. Remember to listen to your body. If you’re feeling unwell and know you will struggle to effectively perform your tasks at work, do yourself a favour and stay home to rest. It’s better for you to take time off and recover completely, than to come to work and not be productive. Not to mention also risking the health of your team members! Protect your private time – set boundaries Let’s keep this one simple. Turn off your phone and work emails when you can. Not everything is urgent and chances are whatever you need to do, will still be there when you get back to the office. Do as much as you can in your work day, focus on the priorities and leave the things that can wait until tomorrow. We need to disconnect, even for short periods during weeknights and on weekends. This can only be accomplished if you protect your private time from interruptions and distractions, including work when you can. To get the most out of your weekends, approach your private time in a similar way to your work – write a to-do list, prioritise the things that need to be done, and make sure you set aside time to do something you enjoy.