Family is the most important thing in many people's lives - yet the pressures of modern life mean it's often also one of the most neglected.

New research from KidZania shows the average UK family spends just 43 minutes a day - or three hours a week - of quality time together. And chances are, the reasons for this will sound familiar, with 47 per cent citing work commitments as the culprit.

But working parents are being encouraged to be proactive about the quality time they spend with their family.

The brainchild of the Working Families charity (, which says in the UK, four in 10 parents work full-time, and 34 per cent of those working part-time end up putting in extra hours each week. Nearly half (47 per cent say work gets in the way of spending time together as a family.

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, suggests 11 ways to help you go home on time more often and create a better work-life balance...

1. If you live with a partner, encourage each other to review both your working commitments and make changes at home to help share the care of children, household responsibilities and earning money. Often, a nursery or school pick-up is the best way of making sure you go home on time, so sharing more childcare could be beneficial in more ways than one.

2. If you're feeling overwhelmed with too many tasks, there are simple tools that can help you sort what needs to be done first, done next, given to someone else, or not done at all. The 'Eisenhower matrix' is a good example - it's just a four-box grid where you plot tasks depending on how important and/or urgent they are.

3. It can feel very difficult to say 'no' when you're asked to do something, especially if it's by someone senior. But they might not realise what else you have on - you need to tell them. Focus the conversation on how they can help you prioritise tasks in the time available, rather than giving a flat 'no'. If the requests are coming from someone using your services and you feel uncomfortable saying no to them, speak to your line manager about your workload.

4. Ask yourself if completing a certain task is the best use of your time. Could someone else complete it more efficiently, or use it as a learning experience?

5. Have a to-do list and update this at the end of the day. This should help you switch off and leave work stresses behind, knowing the tasks are safely written down.

6. Avoid checking and responding to requests as soon as they come in, especially if it's getting close to the time you finish. For example, you could turn your email alerts off, and set aside certain periods of the day for admin tasks.

7. If you have big and small tasks on your to-do list, get your biggest task, or the one you least want to do, done first. It's easy in theory but in practice, we all procrastinate. Tim Urban's TED talk is a funny and helpful starting point for understanding and tackling procrastination.

8. Everyone has a 'chronotype'. It's believed that 40 per cent of us are larks, which the world of work is mostly configured to, but 30 per cent of us are owls, and the other 30 per cent are somewhere between the two, according to Matthew Walker's book, Why We Sleep. If it's possible to engineer your day around your chronotype (larks work best in the morning and owls late afternoon/evening), your official working time will be much more productive and efficient, enabling you to finish on time, whenever your personal 'on time' is.

9. If you're finding work and life incompatible, ask your manager about flexible working. Anyone who's been with their employer at least 26 weeks can request flexible working. But if you've not been in your job that long, it's still possible to talk informally to your boss. Many are far more receptive than you might think.

Flexible working isn't just about reducing hours - though that might be right for you - you can also amend your start and finish times, compress your hours, and change where you work all or some of the time. Some employees can work differently during school holidays, or work as a job-share. There are lots of options to consider that could increase your productivity at work and quality time at home.

10. Could you work from home? If you're the boss, could your team work at home sometimes? Travelling is tiring, expensive and - often - bad for the environment. Evidence shows employees who have more control over where they work are more productive and engaged, so cutting down travel time is a win-win situation for everyone.

11. Our own expectations are another challenge when it comes to finding the right work-life balance. We can't be perfect parents all the time, so be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. Sometimes, being good enough is genuinely good enough.