Bringing your work home with can have serious consequences for your life. "First, it can cause stress in your life as you are trying to make things happen at home, like getting dinner for your family, dealing with kids, chores, etc. If you are also trying to cram in work in the evenings and weekends while you are trying to make all this happen, it can leave you feeling very overwhelmed," says Donna Paris, senior Life editor at Canadian Living magazine.
"And if this continues day after day, it can cause chronic stress, which we now know takes a tremendous toll on your mind and body, and can lead to serious health problems, as it affects almost every system in your body," says Paris. "It can suppress your immune system, increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, and even speed up the aging process. In fact, it can even make you more vulnerable to anxiety and depression."
"You need to make the balance happen," she adds. "And you are the only one who can do it for yourself."
4 ways to balance life and work
1. Set boundaries
"If you say yes to everything, you will never get all your work done. Practice saying no sometimes, and stick to it when you have projects that need to be done," advises Paris. "And make sure you're not doing someone else's work so they can get their stuff done."
2. Talk to your boss
If you find you’re being overloaded with work, it's time to discuss your concerns with your boss. Start logging your time so she knows how long it takes you to finish that report, or how many hours you’ve been putting in outside the office.
3. Shut off
Leave your Blackberry or work laptop at the office. When you get home you should revel in the your private time, or connect with friends and family.
"Experts agree that it is important to live in the moment. Whether you are cooking a meal together with friends or watching a movie with your kids, they know when you’re not really present," says Paris.
"Kids, even young ones, know that when you're Blackberry-ing your way through the movie you're watching together, you're not into it. And when you forget to ask your partner what the results of his blood tests were because you're too focused on work, you know you’re not being present in his life."
4. Keep track
Log your work and life hours with our handy work-life balance tracker for the duration of one week. Download the tracker and fill in how much time you spend working after work hours, and how much time you spend playing. If you see you're spending more time checking your email than hanging out with your kids (or even just enjoying some peace and quiet), it's time to reassess your priorities.
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