Reaching the right work-life balance

If getting the work-life balance is important to you, then the following time management tips article by Derek Stockley may help you achieve the desired balance between work and family.

Work-life balance introduction

In a previous article, I summarised some key points about achieving a good work life balance. My advice was based on my own personal experiences (five children/dual career family) as well as the experiences of many others shared in time management training programs I have conducted.

Time management tips

One point I emphasise in training courses is the importance of having your mind where your body is. If you are at home, that is what you should be thinking about, not work.

A good concept is the ‘first four minutes’. Even though you may ‘occasionally’ have to take work home, it is important to use your travelling (commuting) time between work and home to make the transition. Use the time available to start thinking about the ‘home’ issues and the actions required of you.

If you have a spouse and/or children, when you walk through the front door, your total focus should be on them. Young children particularly require your full attention. They are very alert and can tell when you are not ‘with’ them.

After the first four or five minutes, you can then put away your briefcase that you left at the front door. If you have ‘homework’, it should be scheduled at a time that is most convenient for yourself, your partner and your children (if you have them).

This approach can satisfy all parties. You do not have to worry about your urgent work tasks, as you have allocated time later. Your family will appreciate your attention. They will appreciate your ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ presence combined at the same time.

Working long hours?

If you take work home every night, then you need to evaluate what is happening.

Sometimes peak demands at work will require extra effort and time, requiring effort at night and weekends. Hopefully, you receive some compensation when this happens.

Consistently working long hours is not good for you, and in the long run, is not good for your organisation.

In Australia, many people are working long hours on a regular basis. Given that some people are underemployed, this inequality does not seem right.

If you are working long hours consistently, you need to ask yourself the question: “Why?”

If it is a new business and you are the owner/manager, that might be an explanation. If you have been doing it for over five years, again I ask: “Why?”

When I see a person working long hours, I can often see underutilised people around them. As a strong believer in personal development, I often advocate that people ‘delegate’ more. It takes time and effort, but it is good for you and good for your people.


The ‘first four minutes’ tip is a powerful technique that can dramatically improve the ‘quality’ of the time you spend with your family.

If the line between home and work is blurred by the amount of time you spend ‘working’ at home, then now is a good time to evaluate exactly what is happening.

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