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What my road rage taught me about finding the right work life balance

I used to get into work, every morning, so stressed and annoyed that it really impacted my efficiency and certainly my mood for the rest of the working day. Yes, I suffered from road rage. The simple inefficiency of sitting in traffic really got my goat and worse still the thought of being late made my heart race! I tried employing varying tactics to counteract how I felt when I got to work such as, sitting in my car in the carpark and slowly exhaling or yoga type stretches in the conference room. Neither worked particularly well or were very practical. However, the best solution by far was leaving the house so early there was actually no traffic on the road.

Whilst I sustained this method of managing my road rage for years, arriving at work at 06:30 and leaving after the evening rush hour, my work life balance was suffering. Plus, the over reliance on parents and friends, the military type planning I required from them for school drop off and pick up and meal planning was taking its toll on family life and my relationships.

I barely saw my children and husband in daylight hours. I was always exhausted by the weekend as I manically completed the numerous household tasks and helped with homework. Something needed to change!

I mulled over what was important to me and concluded that an adjustment in my work life balance was required. I needed to re-join my family and enjoy life.

The solution, I now work from home, thus immediately removing any potential for road rage. I have super flexible hours, so never panic that I am going to be late for a meeting. Overall my working practices are much more efficient. I work when I feel most productive and I can get so much more done in a shorter day. I even have time to schedule in household chores, to supervise my children’s homework time and I never miss a parcel delivery!

A major advantage of working from home which probably aids in improving my efficiency is I no longer have to deal with office politics, such as what temperature the office should be for optimal working and whether to have the window open or closed! The days of being distracted by a colleague’s loud telephone conversation or the chance of catching someone else’s cold are long gone.

So, are there any downsides? Initially I thought I would miss the camaraderie of working in an office but with video and telephone calls I still get this. Maybe on occasion I may work late into the evening or at the weekend, but this is on my terms with the knowledge that I have managed to fit in a walk with a friend during the week, had a meaningful conversation with my children, or just that all the washing baskets are empty by Friday night! I feel much closer to my private life and my work life balance has improved a lot without a decline in productivity.

I do still sometimes have a manic week and encounter traffic, but it is scheduled and expected. Road rage for now is a thing of the past. I am lot happier and so are my family.

Clare Delaney, NextGen Planners

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