Vital for your well-being and your productivity at work, a healthy work-life balance can be difficult to achieve. Your blood pressure may be telling you one thing and your boss may be demanding another and we normally react by stretching ourselves a bit too far. It’s not until we end up exhausted, ill and worn down by life that we think about doing something about it.
There is no need to panic however as by putting some simple strategies in place you will be able to achieve more in both your personal and work life. Read our tips for gaining control and restoring balance.
Structure your day
You have probably already noticed a pattern relating to your own productivity. Whether you are a night owl or early bird, knowing when you are at your most innovative and efficient allows you to arrange your day accordingly. Achieving more in a shorter period of time takes the pressure off and extra hours at your disposal.
Becoming a time management expert also helps. Classic time management rules suggest making action lists and prioritising as well as being disciplined about when you deal with emails and take calls. Arranging a set time of day to answer calls and reply to emails means that you can focus on major projects without interruption.
In addition be selective about the meetings you attend. Do you have to be there? Can someone else attend in your place? Be clear about your new plan to your team, get them on board and gain their support.
Know when to stop
The trouble with technology means that we can access our phones and tablets 24/7. One glance can lead to hours of work so unless there is a major crisis happening at the office, you really need to know when to stop.
Putting a curfew on yourself when it comes to work emails will release the temptation. Moreover the issues raised often can’t be dealt with at home anyway so all you will gain is a sleepless night!
Making time for yourself and the family
How many times have you taken a lunch break in the past month? How often do you take guilt-free holidays? Research has shown that taking a break away from the screen and out in the fresh air clears your head so you return to your desk feeling more refreshed and energised.
Don’t forget you can only work to your optimum if you are in a healthy state, mentally and physically. That’s why holidays are so important. Not just to help you relax and recover from everyday pressures but so you can reconnect with your family and friends.
There is never a great time to take a holiday so the best you can do is work around your business or industry and prepare as much as possible in advance of your time off. When you walk out the door, switch off and enjoy!
Delegate and outsource
Delegation is key to your productivity. You may feel uneasy about handing over certain tasks so you have to ask whether this is down to lack of trust or lack of training. Delegation can help relationships with your team as they will appreciate being trusted with the extra responsibility and the opportunity to prove themselves.
At home don’t be a martyr, you can engage all the family and even your youngest can take on the responsibility of a simple task. Consider outsourcing certain jobs such as gardening, ironing or housework. Free up as much of your precious time as possible and do something that feeds the soul!
Explore Flexible Working
This depends on the industry and the type of work you do. Consider working from home one day a week. You will find your productivity will rise when away from all the office distractions and reducing your commuting hours can only ease your stress levels.
If working from home is not an option, consider telecommuting. By using your commuting time to work on the move, you will use up the dead time spent on the train and free up valuable hours that you can spend at home.
Refresh and clear out
Tidy desk, tidy mind or so they say but staying on top of things will certainly relieve your stress levels. If you feel like you are drowning under piles of paper in your office and emails in your inbox, take time to have a clear out. Archive what you need to keep and ditch the junk! A tidy desk and office gives a good impression to your team and will encourage others to follow suit.
Don’t forget to use technology to your advantage. There are systems and applications that can assist employees to manage their time and workload. From calendars, task lists, scheduling reminders to internal messaging systems that can speed up the decision making process without the need of a meeting. Don’t forget you can save time and money going to external meetings by arranging video calls with Skype or Facetime or a good old fashioned conference call.
Your increased efficiency will have a positive effect on your team, productivity and hopefully your bottom line.