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If you struggle to create a positive work-life balance, you are not alone. For many people, this idyllic situation continues to be elusive. Moreso now, as improvements made in technology make employees more accessible to their employers, all with the click of a button. The result of this is the never-ending workday. So, you’re doing more but are you achieving more? Are you being productive?

One study by John Pencavel, Economics Professor at Stanford University, revealed that productivity per hour declines sharply after a person works more than 50 hours a week. Anything more than 55 hours results in such a drastic drop in productivity that it is pointless to keep working.

But why the long hours? Does it mean workload had increased with the work-from-home environment? Does having access to one’s systems at home suggest that one is more willing to sit at the computer longer to finish a task they would have deferred to the next day?

Whatever the reason, maintaining a healthy work-life balance continues to be a moving target for many. To bring that target more into focus, here are six work-life balance tips for you:

  1. Set a few tasks for each day – Keeping a short to-do list gives you a better chance of staying focused and completing each item.
  2. Tackle the tough jobs early in the day - It is advisable to set tasks that require your full attention for the morning when you are refreshed and more alert. The more straightforward tasks can be assigned to a bit later in the day.
  3. Stay clear of social media during work hours - Especially if you find yourself scrolling through your feeds for hours before realizing that you have not done anything on your list. Productivity software such as LeechBlock or RescueTime may be just right for you.
  4. Make some life changes - Complete your daily tasks, then shut off your computer and phone. Why?  The constant pinging from notifications is a sure way to get you back in work mode as you want to tackle “just one more task” before you call it a day. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  That’s three weeks you can give yourself to learn how to unplug and switch off from work. 
  5. Plot personal time - Have set work hours that you stick to and schedule your personal commitments, so you are unavailable for work during those times.
  6. Chat with your employer about your concerns - If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. A solution that works for both of you is available once the proper channels of communication are open. Make it clear when you are required to work and when you cannot respond. There are autoresponder alerts built into emails these. Utilize them to notify others that you are unavailable and suggest they reach out another time.

Though it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between work time and personal time, you can follow these six tips, eliminate the grey areas, and maintain your boundaries.