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So, did you set yourself some New Year’s resolutions? Was getting a better work life balance one of them?  It was for me!

I thought I’d take a look at life outside work this week, as at this time of year we often reflect on the year we have had and what improvements or changes we want to make.  And inevitably those words come up… work life balance.

I’m always hearing about how it’s important to slow down and even out the balance, but in the real world how many of us are actually doing it?

This is not a sermon on how you should be living your life.  I just thought I’d share some ideas that might add some value.

People always seem to define themselves by what they do. I find that I’m always asked what I do for a living, and this is great dinnertime conversation if people are interested in my industry, but less so if their eyes begin to glaze over before I get a chance to say pass the potatoes please. Having an interest outside of work means you have another topic to discuss over dinner, and something else to focus on besides business. My passion is tree planting and gardening, so with my partner I’m trying to turn a 10 acre paddock into native bush (hard work, but it reduces my ‘personal carbon footprint’ guilt!).

I know that it can be difficult, but it is possible to have a healthy work-life balance. Prioritise your ‘me’ time – for exercise, family time or hobbies.  Schedule your ‘me’ time in your calendar (just like other important appointments), and then you’ll be more likely to keep your own appointment.

I’ve been using this approach as part of my goal to increase my fitness levels – but like a few business folk I know, I find it too easy to avoid the gym with the excuse of ‘too much work to do’. So earlier this year I set up a plan with a personal trainer with two appointments a week – I found that having made that commitment to someone else with the time locked in my diary, I always get there, no matter how busy I am.

And there is an important business motivation for this. Through focussing on more than just work, when you are working you have more to give it – you’re more inspired, enthusiastic and motivated.

So what are your tips for achieving that much fabled work-life balance and have you noticed an improvement in your work as well?

What do you think?

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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