How will you spend Go Home on Time Day? 50 ideas to consider…
Wednesday is National Go Home on Time Day, a fantastic idea by the charity Working Families UK. Work-life balance is a real passion of mine, and while I know first-hand the challenges that having children puts on parents in terms of the juggling act, I’ve always been a firm believer that work-life balance must be seen as something crucial to everyone’s well-being, and not just something that’s discussed for those with caring responsibilities. I remember a conversation I had with a colleague about flexibility – he didn’t think he needed it because he didn’t have children. “But what about other things that are important in your life?” I said, “the chance to take up a sport, or a hobby, or just chill out and relax?” To me, that matters just as much.
I heartily hope that the phrase “work-life balance” stops being a part of our lexicon, because balance becomes something we do well, have easily, and appreciate for the huge emotional and physical value it gives us to have it in our lives. Certainly not that work isn’t a part of it – work is, of course, for so many of us, a huge part of what makes life rewarding, intellectually stimulating, fulfilling, and fun. What’s crucial is to be attuned to when work is hogging your attention, taking too much from you in terms of time and mental resources, and sapping your energy.
So, will you please make a plan so that on Wednesday you can go home on time? Tell your colleagues on Monday why you’re declining that 4:30pm meeting, and encourage them to do the same. If you’re a leader, and feeling like you can’t leave early because you’re the leader – do it exactly for that reason! People can’t follow what you’re not modelling.
Are you thinking, “I don’t even know what I’d do if I left on time!”? Get creative – I know you can come up with something! And, if you’re really stuck for what you would do, I throw out some ideas for you below*.
Visit a museum. Sharpen your steak knives. Arrange a game of tennis. Go shopping. Volunteer. Sit in a café. Go for a jog. Read the book that’s been sitting on your bedside table for 2 months. Clean your closets and donate your unwanted stuff to charity. Try a new recipe. Sit on the sofa sipping tea. Crack open a new boxset. Call your parents. Do a crossword puzzle. Smile. Rake some leaves. See if you can see the sun set. Find someone to play cards with. Go on a photo walk. Catch a film. Make a list of what you’re grateful for. Listen to live music. Play basketball. Join a TweetChat. Sort out your summer holiday photos. Meditate. Plan your Halloween costume. Go to a lecture or Meet-up on something that interests you. Have a Skype date with a friend. Have a real date with your partner. Hop on a bus or Tube and go somewhere you’ve never been before. Show your appreciation to a busker. Make a great cocktail. Learn a dance move from Strictly. Go find a choir to join. Plan your Christmas baking. Read a newspaper start to finish. Build a spaceship out of Lego. Write a poem. People watch. Take a power nap. Do some knitting. Teach yourself the rules of chess. Make sure your work colleagues go home on time, as well. Hug your loved ones, and be grateful that you can. Laugh loudly. Prepare for Bake Off. Get a good night’s sleep. Savour the sense of balance. Repeat until it becomes the norm.
*Not an exhaustive list. Don’t have an exhausted life.