*This article first appeared on The Guardian Nigeria

Achieving a high level of work-life balance this new year should still be at the top of your priority. It’s been argued over time if work-life balance even exists.

Some have said it’s a myth. All the same, this is something to work towards.

Many people have resumed work and this means that we’re back to traffic and the regular hustle and bustle, especially during rush hours as kids resume school and businesses come back in full bloom.

As a worker, this can mean getting back to the stressful nature of today’s life, the daily battle with morning and evening rush and the traffic that come with it, alongside the stress of juggling everything that comes with life as an adult.

This year shouldn’t be the same as last year where you felt like you had no control over anything. How can this be different in the New Year, you ask?

Here are a few practical ways you can make 2018 an awesome work year, whether you are an entrepreneur or employee.

1. Take charge of your alarm

Let’s be honest, many of us aren’t early risers and are fond of snoozing our alarm over and over again. Many sleep scientists have argued that snoozing your alarm repeatedly to jolt you from sleep rather than as a way to stretch and gradually wake up, might not do your health justice.

If you are too tired, snoozing your alarm may take you into a deep sleep cycle. It can also get you in the wrong mood and make you feel worn out all day.

Instead of doing the usual, try to set your alarm and keep it far away from you. You’ll be forced to stand up and gradually wake up or stretch. This will help you maximise your morning hours.

2. Take advantage of your commute

Most often than not, we are so keen to complain about the terrible traffic during rush hours. Unfortunately, we have little or no control over traffic. So, why not make use of your commute by doing something productive?

You can listen to soothing music, an audiobook or a podcast. If you aren’t driving, you can read a book. Or think through on a pet project you’ve been dreaming about for years.

2018 should be the year to finally actualize your dreams. Start thinking and cracking walls during your commute. Better still, just sleep through the traffic if you are not driving. It will take some steam off you rather than complaining about it.

3. Create a new routine

At this time of the year, you hear some people listing tons of new habits planned out for the New Year. Sometimes, it can be so difficult to do all of these because we are not being realistic. Why not take things one step at a time during your 2018 work year?

Start with trying to consistently do about two to three things in the New Year and be intentional about it. For example, you can decide to drink at least 10 glasses of water every day and take a walk every afternoon during your lunch break.

These are activities that will help you stay healthy and are quite achievable. Depending on areas that you think are lacking in your life, create a realistic routine for the year. Stick to it to avoid every work-related stress in your life.

2018 should be a different year in entirety and it’s important that you take a conscious effort to ensure that your work life is better than it was last year because your work affects every other aspect of your life.

How will you be striving to achieve work-life balance?

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