5 Actions To Achieve A Work-life balance & Take It From A Nice To Have To A Productivity Booster
My brother’s partner has recently qualified as a biomedical engineer and like many others she has started a journey in the professional world. Exciting, right? Apparently Not!!
She and her friends are struggling to strike a work-life balance for the simple reason that with everything that took place owing to COVID -They feel scared of being the first to be “laid off” if something else should happen that might force their company to make cuts. They are not alone in their fears, nearly everyone I speak to is experiencing the same feeling of uncertainty.
The Result: work harder, work faster, work longer hours, work, work work! you get the idea. This is a sure one-way ticket to burnout, depression, anxiety amongst a long list of nasties we don't want to experience.
To start, let’s identify what Work-life balance is.
Put simply, Work-Life Balance should be a state of equilibrium where a person prioritizes the demands of one's career and one's personal life, equally. Some of the common reasons that lead to a poor work-life balance include: Increased responsibilities at work and working longer hours.
For those who continue working from home, the challenge of being able to switch off and achieve a balance is even more difficult because the lines are more blurred.
Let’s look at a few ways to help strike that balance:
Have set work hours – and stick to them
I am definitely guilty of not doing this and I can tell you, the results speak for themselves when I burn the midnight oil. Set work hours for yourself and do everything you can to stick to them. If not, before you know it, you’ll be working late nights every night, impacting your levels of productivity for the next day.
Prioritize your time
You are probably sitting with a to-do list with 100 tasks on it but let’s be realistic- you need to prioritize. Start by breaking the list into these 4 categories.
Urgent and important
Important but not urgent
Urgent but not important
Neither urgent nor important.
By doing this you will immediately be able to manage your time better and in doing so, set healthy boundaries when it comes to starting and ending your workday. The Stephen Covey Time Management Matrix is quite handy to start sorting out your daily priorities.
Know Your Peaks and Troughs
I am definitely a morning person and if you are too, assign the tough and high-concentration tasks to the mornings. Don’t leave them for later in the day and vice versa. In this article about the book of Daniel Pink: “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” you can get more insights into how to time your day for peak performance.
Manage Your Mind
Self-doubt and anxiety have a tendency to creep in particularly when we are overworked and tired.
It’s important to remember to take regular breaks throughout the day. Take 20 minutes to stretch, meditate or just recharge; this will help you refocus. Alternatively, have a cup of coffee and spend time with someone who uplifts and supports you, all of which are beneficial in maintaining good mental health and optimizing your productivity. If possible block the times for your breaks in your calendar!
Take That Holiday
Even a long weekend away is better than nothing. Quality time spent with our loved ones might just be what the doctor ordered. Your clients and work commitments aren’t going anywhere so provided you advise them in advance, everything will still be standing when you return, and who knows - you may even inspire them to do the same.
Working from home and times of uncertainty have produced one of the highest threats for our mental health: 50% of UK home workers surveyed during the first COVID-19 lockdown said they were unhappy with their work-life balance and even European lawmakers say workers deserve the “right to disconnect” at home.
It is time for you to get back the control of your life!
Productivity & Wellbeing Director
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