Anyone that believes we live in a nine to five world nowadays is kidding themselves. Dolly Parton sold us up the river.

The only thing that is nine to five nowadays is the address of your closest watering hole you frequent to take the edge off actually working a 12 to 16 hour day.

And while many will preach of the importance of work/life balance, most of us will roll our eyes and exclaim: “well you obviously don’t work in the travel industry, do you!?”

However, have faith. For a life without balance is just a procession of obligations and no one really wants to live that life, do they?

In that vein, we, the team at KarryOn, have decided to share our tried-and-true ways to make sure you get to play just as hard as you work for 2017.

 

1. Schedule in free time

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Much in the same way you would schedule in a meeting. If you take your work/life balance as seriously as your next sales pitch, then you will definitely clear time for it.

The folks at WebMD suggest waking up a little earlier to spend time with family, blocking out an entire rest day, or maintaining date night with your spouse (hello romantic candlelit dinners and a Game of Thrones marathon on the sofa!).

 

2. Work on a reward points system

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Picture this: you’ve spent the last few weeks eating beans and cabbage soup in a bid to shake a few kilos. With the money you have saved from staving off takeaway binges and lengthy weekend drinks, you’ve got enough to buy yourself a new suit, designer dress or a quick weekend trip away. You’d heartily take the indulgence because you’ve earned it.

On the other hand, you finish a brief, land a great client or make a whole bunch of deadlines and your only reward is a frozen dinner and the comforts of your bed. Snore.

Every success should be rewarded and the reward points system is a great way to factor a little fun into your week.

For every task completed, add an hour to your fun schedule. For bigger gains add two or three. Once you have enough time reserved, go off and play! But guilt-free this time, m’kay?

 

3. Let go

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Forbes Magazine likes to refer to it as pesky perfectionism. It’s the need to hit high scores every time you apply yourself. Yes, striving for the best you can be is good. Striving for absolutely perfect is overkill. Much like Stalin’s star worker, all you’ll end up doing is pushing the bench mark further and further away until you lose sight of yourself and what’s important.

Let go.

Control the urge to reach unobtainable goals. Ask yourself: Is it absolutely important, this time around, to make a lasting impression? Do I really need to proof read that email to my boss five times before I press send? Is my desire to be excellent leading to an obsession?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to step away from the computer and get a grip.

 

4. Learn to say no


And we don’t mean walking into your boss’s office, scattering their files all over the floor and walking out in true rockstar fashion. Nor do we mean lifting your hands from your own business and letting it “take care of itself.”

We do, however, highly recommend learning to say no if you feel that your schedule is already stretched to its limits.

Look at your to-do list. If you feel there is no room left to take on a new task, ask to leave it for the next day. You aren’t a machine and you’re definitely not a cyborg. Even if you were, there’s always tomorrow. Just ask Schwarzenegger.

 

5. Take breaks away from the grind

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Yes, all that holiday leave you have clocked up isn’t a sign that you’re dedicated but rather a screaming alarm that you have your head too far in the proverbial game. Your mind, much like your body, needs rest. You wouldn’t consider running for three hours on a treadmill at an incline of nine every morning, would you?

Same way you shouldn’t assume your brain is capable of performing its best without a break away from it all. Take leave. Enforce it. You may be surprised at how well you perform when you return, tanned and toned, from your holiday away.

 

6. Shuffle and hustle

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All right, we know a few of you just can’t get away from the grind long enough to enjoy a two week stint in the Bahamas, or a weekend away with the family, without checking up on work. This is especially common among travel agents (yes, we’re looking at you!). No problem. There is a way out. By adopting systems and platforms that allow you to log in anywhere, anytime, you’ll be able to flitter in and out of work and play like a pro.

What’s your tip to get more work-life balance?