For many trainee accountants, entering the training environment is your first encounter with working a full day in a corporate environment. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and get so caught up that, before you know it, work has, quite literally become your whole life.

As important as it to be committed to your work, to be ambitious and go the extra mile, it’s equally important not to neglect the personal side of your life in favour of the professional. It’s a term known as work/ life balance, which is defined in Wikipedia as “prioritising between work (career and ambition) and lifestyle (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development). Essentially, if you are to be happy and fulfilled in the work place, you need to find the right balance between your career and your personal life.

It may seem obvious, but it is surprising how easily one slides into an unbalanced lifestyle, without even realising it. There’s no simple recipe either – getting the balance right is different for every individual, as every person has their own interests and priorities.

According to the website worklifebalance.com, there are two aspects to consider: achievement and enjoyment – which are really just two sides of the same coin. It’s easy to understand what achievement means in our lives, while the concept of enjoyment is a little more complex. Enjoyment is not only about happiness and having fun, although they are part of it. However, it also includes important elements such as pride, satisfaction, celebration, love and wellbeing. In order to live your best life, it’s important to fulfil both the achievement and enjoyment aspects.

Ultimately, as busy and consuming as professional life can become, it’s vital to make time for the people and activities that matter most to you. This can be challenging, particularly with technological changes such as smart phones and laptops making it all too easy to carry on working outside of working hours.

Help is at hand however; here are five simple tips from webMD.com to help you make the most of both your work and leisure time:

Schedule downtime: it may not sound spontaneous, but it’s a great way to ensure you schedule time for yourself into the week. So, when you’re planning the week ahead, make sure that you set aside some time for activities such as dinner with friends, exercise and hobbies.

Drop the activities (and people) that don’t add value: with time in short supply, don’t waste it on negative people and pointless activities. Stay away from people who make you feel bad or drain your energy. While at work focus on the tasks at hand and get it down. Avoid things like taking personal calls or arranging your social life while at the office.  

Rearrange your errands: chores can take away much of our downtime. Try to see what you can outsource to make running errands quicker and easier – for example, try shopping online as opposed to fighting the crowds on a Saturday morning to do the weekly grocery shop.

Always make time for exercise: yes, it takes a little effort, but exercise is good for you – inside and out. You’ll feel fit and healthy, have an excellent outlet for stress and it’s also a great way to boost your energy levels and increase concentration.

A little relaxation goes a long way: making a concerted effort to balance work and play is not about having to create huge changes in your life. It’s the small things that count – ensuring that you leave work early just one night a week to see friends and family, taking 15 minutes away from your desk to get some fresh air and engage with your co-workers. You’ll be surprised at the effect the smallest of changes can have on your overall wellbeing. 


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