Do you need to bolster your boundaries? Smart tips from a new book on improving your live/work balance…

Written by A Guest Blogger

We’ve all heard of the concept of work-life balance, but how many of us practice it? Especially now – thanks to technology – work has become even more consuming than it ever was. Plus our mobile devices have become ubiquitous, intrusive and often can seem impossible to escape.

But advice from a new book Boundaries – How to Draw the Line in Your Head, Heart and Home by Jennie Miller and Victoria Lambert could help you establish boundaries – clear personal guidelines – around your work to help you achieve balance on a practical level, improving your relations with colleagues and the boss, supporting you through workplace issues like bullying and romantic entanglements and making home life more pleasant too. Here’s their advice:

Do put a boundary around work time – especially if you are in a management position. Respect the hours of the contract. If you choose to work all hours, don’t inflict that as a necessity on juniors, many of whom will not be paid as much as you, or be as driven. Lead to create a healthy working environment for all.

Have a turn on and turn off point for emails. Who really needs to look at emails at 6 a.m. or at 10 p.m. Instead set yourself a boundary of only checking from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, for example.

Ask your family or friends for some feedback; you may be used to a constant background buzz of ‘When are you going to be home? Do you have to have your phone on all the time?’ How about asking them how they really experience you, how much of you do they feel is with them on a day-to-day basis?

Start to take small steps. Make a contract with yourself to; phone that friend, leave work on time one day a week (for starters), get a life outside work and, if you rely on the work gym, join another that you have to leave work to reach.

Reframe the ‘handover flashpoint’. This is the moment when you and your partner – like two volatile chemicals – are most likely to meet and combust. The time it’s most likely to happen is when both partners are tired at the end of the day – who doesn’t know the “I’m more tired than you” competition? Make it the time which marks the end of everyone’s working day when both parents share children and chores from this point on. The coming home becomes the coming together.

Engage with others in the office but don’t try to “rescue” them. Be kind but don’t take their problems home with you.

Choose your friends and lovers in the office with care. Not all relationships are among equals and not all are sincere. And any love affair – however genuine – can have an impact on the entire office dynamic, even when things are going well.

Don’t be a yes man/woman . Build your self-esteem by focusing on your own work; remember why you were employed and what you are good at. Stay professional and being open to any communications that relate to your work.

What would your landscape look like if your job vanished tomorrow? No one is irreplaceable. Make sure your life outside work is full of meaning and you’ll never feel unemployed.

Boundaries – How to Draw the Line in Your Head, Heart and Home by Jennie Miller and Victoria Lambert is available at Waterstones, WH Smith Travel and online here