In the U.S., full-time working men spend 8.35 hours at work while women spend 7.84 hours. That’s even higher than the amount of time most of us spend sleeping (6.8 hours)! Shocking, isn’t it?
In today’s digital age – when we constantly have access to our work emails, it has become more difficult to draw the line between our work and personal life.
You might wonder – is it possible to achieve work-life balance? Does this term even exist?
Rocking your work-life balance like a pro is possible. Follow these tips:
Work smarter, not more
Less is more, they say. It is important to set clear boundaries between your work and personal life. Just because you are spending 9 or 10 hours at work doesn’t mean you are being productive, and vice versa. The key is to work smarter. You can use free time clock software to concentrate on your work and avoid distractions.
Another way to work smarter is to prioritize. List down your tasks for the day according to urgency and importance. Allocate a realistic time for each task and plan your day accordingly. Prioritization is an effective time management technique because it creates concern, not stress.
Forget work AFTER work
A study by the University of Toronto found that 50% of employees take their work home with them. Don’t be a slave of your job. If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending more time working than sleeping. You deserve a break. To perform efficiently and productively, you need to recharge not just on weekends or during holidays but every day, as you finish your shift and leave the office. Check out these tips to forget work after work:
- Focus on what you’ll do instead. Whether it’s cooking dinner for your partner or working out at the gym.
- Turn your devices off. Do not open emails, messages connected to work when your working time is over.
- Do something you really love.
Focus on what you are doing
Focus, focus, focus. Easier said than done, right? It can be difficult to focus on a specific task, especially when you’re surrounded by so many distractions. So, first thing’s first – eliminate distractions if you want to focus on what you’re doing (we’ll talk about this in detail later). For the meantime, here are some scientifically proven ways to improve your focus and achieve smart time management:
- Prepare your brain. Give yourself two to five minutes to prepare your mind and calm your body. This improves your concentration.
- Turn on some music.
- Take short breaks, especially if you’re working on a complicated or stressful task.
- Break down a big task into smaller tasks.
- Set deadlines and stick to them.
Learn to say "NO"
There’s nothing wrong with being a team player or being super nice to your boss or colleagues at work. But there’s nothing wrong either with saying “no” to some of their requests. Before accepting additional workload, determine how much time you need to deliver quality work, whether you have enough skills and resources to do it, and if it will undermine your work-life balance. You can say “no” without offending the other person by asking if you can contribute in a different way or tackle the project at a later time.
Technology is your friend. It’s your tool to get more things done in less time. However, technology can also make you feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. Your phone, for example, keeps you connected to your workplace even if you’re at home and supposed to be resting. Scientific studies have shown that unplugging can boost your mental health. Shut off your phone notifications and do something relaxing that doesn’t involve the use of devices. Go out for a cup of coffee. Stroll around your neighborhood. Take a nature trip. There are so many fun things to do other than browsing on your phone.
Limit time-wasting activities (and people)
Distractions are everywhere, whether you’re working from home or in a traditional office. There are phone calls to make, emails to check, and IMs to reply to. Here are some helpful tips to combat distractions while working:
- Work alongside productive people. Productivity is contagious.
- Block online distractions. Instead of checking your inbox every now and then, make a schedule to do so – say, every three hours.
- Make time for breaks. This might seem counterintuitive, but your brain needs to rest too! Schedule leisure activities like social media checking during breaks. While working, put your phone on silent mode or totally shut it off.
Balancing your work and personal life is possible. It can be difficult, but with the right strategies, you can continue to excel at work without sacrificing your personal life. From prioritizing the most important tasks to unplugging and minimizing distractions, you can practice work-life balance and rock it like a pro!
About the author: Margarita Nelson specialises in Business Management and Consulting. Her passion is effective communication through innovative tools and productive solutions.