Reset the slate for 2024. Make time for what matters most.
Have you started 2024 as you mean to go on?
It’s easy to make resolutions, both personally and for work, at the start of a new year.
- Joined the gym? ✓
- Healthy eating? ✓
- Dry January? ✓
- Reclaiming your work-life balance? Check...?
We know that the last one can seem like a fairly daunting task. Finishing the workday on time when you work from home is no easy feat. No one is asking you to leave so they can close the office, and no cleaners need to get to your workstation. Boundaries between the workday and home life blur when at home. It can be incredibly hard to locate those borders, especially if you have been working remotely for years.
This new year set rigid work resolutions
The hard truth is that there will always be one more email or urgent task that needs doing as the working day draws towards a close. Yes, sometimes that task may be truly important, and you may want to work an hour later for a deadline the next day. However, should those times really be a regular occurrence? Ask yourself, if you don't get that 'one thing' done tonight, is it going to have a negative impact on your next working day? I bet you were 50/50 answering that one. Now, let us ask you a slightly different question. If you work late to get that one thing done now, is it going to have a negative impact on your personal life? Will it mean missing time with your family? Will it mean a partner picking up the slack? Will it result in another quick dash to the shops to grab something fast and easy for dinner before trying to switch off and sleep? And finally, will that last urgent task really take just one more hour?
It is so easy these days in our 'always-on world' to be so consumed by work that your personal life takes a back seat. You may feel this is necessary and even embrace it, as it may lead to that big promotion you have been working towards, or you may just feel you have to because it's expected, and all your colleagues do it. But ask yourself, are you ok with your personal life 'playing second string' to work? Is there the potential for you to look back at this period and regret how you spent your time?
If that last question has stood out to you, then it may be time to make a New Year's work resolution to place some healthy work-life boundaries in place. This doesn't mean you work fewer hours in your workday, forgo your lunch break, or worry that your manager will think you are putting in less effort. It means you are simply prioritising your time and finding your balance – before you burn out.
New year work resolutions: the impact on your personal life
Did you know a year's worth of lunch breaks equates to almost six extra weeks of annual leave?* So, if you regularly work through your lunch breaks, that's six weeks of extra unpaid work you provide your workplace every year. Now, think how often you also work additional hours weekly or even daily. I'm sure your workplace is grateful for that. But just think how you could have spent that time outside of work. Is it still worth it? Remember, you won't get this time back. I know it's an old adage, but we only get one life. Remember to live it well.
Are you successful? When answering that question, are you thinking of your career or your personal life? If your answer to that was career only, then it's time to reframe your thinking to include your own personal life. Success is so intrinsically linked to work that we often forget we are also successful in our lives outside of work. However, if you don’t spend enough of your personal time on yourself, it can create conscious (or subconscious) feelings of failure or guilt.
So, ask yourself, do you want to be successful in both your career and personal life? Yes? Now is the time to make a commitment to yourself and put those important boundaries in place. Make your 2024 New Year's work resolution to reset the slate and make time for what matters. Learn more about setting boundaries in our recent blog - 7 Boundaries To Put In Place For Work And Life Balance In 2024
Start 2024 as you mean to go on. 'December you' will thank you.
*Mental Health UK