7 Tips That Will Help Prevent Work From Taking Over Your Life

With increasing interconnectedness and the necessity of working as many hours as it takes to get ahead, striking a healthy balance between your work life and personal life has become more difficult than ever. This is compounded by how lazy or self-indulgent most people feel if they take a day off when their colleagues are hard at work.

However, burnout is real, and it's a huge problem. Not being at your best will cause both your work life and your private life to suffer. If you've realized this and are trying to do something about it, here are some strategies you can try to keep work from taking over your life.

1. Have A Meeting-Free Day

Setting aside a day where you schedule no meetings with either clients or other members of your company will do wonders for your productivity. On this designated day, all you do is buckle down and actually get work done without the distractions meetings provide. This will hopefully allow you to get all of your work done during the workday so you don't have to take any home (along with the accompanying stress) with you at night. You can even suggest to your manager that your entire company do this.

2. See If You Can Work From Home

If telecommuting is an option for your job, you should take it. Even just one day or half a day per week can give you some extra space and breathing room. Working from home will take out the stress of your daily commute and give you just a little more time for yourself and for your family. When working from home, be sure to stick to your regular office hours as much as possible so you don't end up with your nose buried in work for longer than you should.

3. Guard Your Out-Of-Office Time

When you do have to bring work home, set strict time limits for yourself. Otherwise, it will consume all of your out-of-office time and take away your time for yourself and your family. When at home, set rules for yourself about what kinds of work you are allowed to do and how much. For example, you might choose to only respond to the most important e-mails and deal with the rest once you return to your desk. You should try and not respond to work-related matters at all over the weekend, unless it is a true emergency. Weekends should be entirely your time.

4. Make Time For Exercise

You can fit exercise into your workday - just a simple thirty-minute walk during your lunch break is sufficient. If this is not possible, try and fit an hour or two's worth of exercise into your weekly routine. Exercise keeps you sharp, full of good endorphins, healthy, and helps nullify stress. You need to take care of your body, and if you do, it will take care of you.

5. Make Your Family Your Priority

Your family, the people you love, are not expendable in your life. Your job should know that. If your family needs something from you, show up. Make it happen. This is especially true if there is an emergency. Making time for the people you love needs to be the rule rather than the exception. You won't be on your deathbed regretting that you didn't get more work done at your job.

6. Take A Vacation

Always take every vacation day that you are allowed. You are supposed to use them, and both you and your boss will be glad that you do. Taking a vacation, even if it's just to stay at home and catch up or relax, can be a real stress-reliever. You can also go somewhere fun with your family. Anything that lets you take some time off work and relax a little.

7. Schedule Blank Time

Blank time can be tremendously helpful for clearing your head and letting you do some things you really want to do. If at all possible, prevent your schedule from taking up every hour of your day. Have some time where nothing is scheduled - not family commitments or doctor's appointments. Even a half an hour to an hour of blank time a day can be beneficial. This helps your brain stay sharp and creative.

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