Do you feel like you don’t have enough time for yourself and your family? Do you feel that your life and their life are slipping by? Did you know that the average full time working Australian week is 44 hours and Australians work $72 billion unpaid overtime each year?

The notion of working 9-5 – for many – no longer exists. Blame technology. Portable devices, such as the mobile and laptop have made working after hours easy. That means separating work and personal life can be difficult. Nowadays, you can easily check and answer emails while you’re sitting together in the living room or even the dining table, leaving you unconsciously disconnected from your partner and children.

Many workers in the rat race find it hard to find a balance, as the demands of their job become too much and their personal life suffers as a result. However, there are many ways to manage time better, to help create a balance in your life.

Here are five tips for better work life balance:

1. Complete goals

Goal setting can help work productivity and may help reduce the number of hours you spend at work, as you have control over the situation and can focus on the task at hand. Not having clear goals can reduce your work productivity, as you may feel frustrated at the sense of not being in control.

A great idea is start each week, writing down a list of goals for the week. This can include your work and personal life. You may decide to set aside some time for exercising, recreation and downtime. At work it’s essential to communicate well with colleagues and go through the work allocation.

Be specific when writing down your goals. For example don’t write, “exercise more, organize the house and spend more time with family” rather write “this week I will go for 1km run, take my daughter to see the new princess movie and clean up the pantry”. In specifically articulating your goals you’re more likely to complete them.

2. Single task rather than multi task

Multitasking is often thought of as the quickest way to get things done. However, single tasking and devoting all your attention to the one task can prove much more effective. Make appointments with others in your workplace, so that you can discuss when a task will be done and set aside a specific time for each activity.

When caring for children, many parents struggle to balance their work demands and their family responsibilities. Separating work from home life is extremely important to ensure your family is prioritised. So if you’re at work, work hard so that you can get everything done on time but when you’re with your family, make that family time and don’t allow work to interfere.

3. Look after your health

Are you getting enough sleep at night? Are you eating the right foods? These are prime questions to ask yourself, as they may be having a negative effect on your work productivity. Having a good night’s sleep, exercising on a regular basis and eating nutritional foods can have a huge impact on the balance in your life.

Eating nutritious foods, such as wholemeal breads, lean meats and lots of fruit and veg, are all part of a healthy diet regime. By reducing the amount of fat and salt in your diet combined with regular exercise you’ll ensure your waistline is trim and you’ll have new found energy that you lacked before.

It’s also wise to address any lingering injuries, such as neck and back pain from being at a desk all day. Private health insurance can cover part of your bill for chiro and physio appointments. Visit HCFto find a health insurance package that is right for you.

4. Enjoy the good things in life

All work and no play…Don’t let work take over your life. Flexibility is the key when it comes to work life balance. Plan ahead each week and ensure you allow yourself at least one enjoyable activity with a friend, family or even for yourself.

This may be a trip to the hairdresser, shopping trip with friends, playground and ice cream with the kids, or a date night with your partner. By allowing yourself to enjoy the things you love, you will be more productive when actually at work, as you won’t feel frustrated with the lack of work life balance.

5. Take ‘me’ time

Fail to plan, plan to fail. At the beginning of each work week it’s a smart idea to plan ahead. Make sure your schedule includes time with your family and friends, as well as some important ‘me’ time.

Building downtime in your schedule will allow you to unwind and have that time away from your all-consuming job. Get up an hour earlier and go for a run or spend that time doing yoga. Once you have scheduled time for yourself out of work hours, don’t let work interfere with this time.

Work life balance can often be a juggling act, but by setting clear goals and prioritising both your work and personal life you’ll be able to improve the balance in your life.