THE BLOG

How to Get That Elusive Work-Life Balance

30/08/2013 17:13 BST | Updated 29/10/2013 09:12 GMT

When I started Jet Social, I spent a lot of my time working. It was evenings, weekends and every other spare hour in between. A lot of that was because I had so much work to do marketing the business as well as doing work for my clients.

It soon dawned on me that I was doing all that work for nothing. When I wasn't working I was sleeping so that didn't leave much time to spend the money I was making. I decided I needed to make more time for myself.

Here are a few things I've learned:

Work can be fun

If you need to put in all those hours with work, make them interesting. If you need to talk with a client about a new project, don't do it over the phone. Invite them out for lunch so you can get some fresh air and food that hasn't been microwaved.

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Make time for yourself

When writing your to-do list, add things in there such as 'spend an hour reading a book'. Even if the book is about work, you get a chance to relax.

Lunch breaks

It's so bad for us to be eating at our desks all the time. I am so guilty of this. Even as I sit here writing this post I'm surrounded by the leftovers of food that I've eaten over today.

Don't do this, not only are you not productive when eating at your desk but it's very easy to overeat too. Cook yourself a beautiful lunch and sit at a real table to eat it. Even better, pop out for lunch, meet some friends and have a laugh. There's more to life than a computer, tablet or phone screen.

Manage your time better

The reason you're working so much might be down to the fact that you're managing your time poorly. You will get better with practice but first you need to identify whether or not your doing work for the sake of doing work.

Do work for your clients but take a look at any marketing activity of your own. Is it working? Is it necessary? If the answer is no, stop doing it! Or at least wait for when you have a bit of down time.

Ask yourself if you're creating work for yourself to delay getting onto the more complex tasks on your to-do list.

There's also a program called Rescue Time that looks at your activity on your computer. It looks at the time you've spent on different websites and programs and categorises them accordingly. You can then look at how productive you've been over a set amount of time.

This is a great way to identify websites and programs that consume all of your time. If you're spending too much time on Twitter, that's easy to solve. But if you're spending most of your day replying to emails it can be difficult to cut this time down.

Instead of checking and replying to emails as they come in set some time in the morning to deal with the emails that have come in overnight and some time in the afternoon to deal with those that come in during the day. This will drastically cut down how much time you spend on your emails. This is something I learnt from reading The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, I highly recommend picking up a copy.

I'd love to know how you manage your work to give you enough free time.