By Kayla Bayens
We all go through this struggle, balancing your work and the rest of our life. Often we feel over worked, stressed, and stretched thin when they are out of whack. Making sure we make time is the best way to keep it balanced and keeps us both sane and productive. To help you with the tight rope act of life we have gathered together useful tips, tricks, and suggestions from all across the web.
A problem that alot of people end up having when trying to get back into a balanced life is they try to do too much at once. You can’t just suddenly decide to go from running 0 to 10 miles a day. That would be disastrous and you’d probably quickly give up on even trying. Instead you need to slowly work towards a goal you set. Lets say you want to make it home in time more often for dinner with the kids and spouse. Well then start off easy, make it home one night a week for dinner. From there slowly build up the number of days a week you make it home for dinner until you reach the goal you have set for yourself. Simple: Pick a goal, figure easy steps that will get you there, and stick to it!
A little bit goes a long way! But its something you need to do consistently. Everyday schedule 10-15 minutes of time just for you to unwind during the work day. Treat this time as sacred and protect it at all times unless an emergency comes up. It might not seem like alot but taking this time to give yourself a break from work will allow you to be more focuses and preform better during the day.
Use that vacation time people. Take 2 weeks every year to just relax. It doesn’t have to be at some far away location in the southern sea but it needs to be a time for you to take off from work, knowing that you won’t have anything to worry about to give yourself to unwind from what can sometimes be a hectic life. It also allows you not to have your attention divided between life and work, giving you a chance to focus on yourself and your family. Just because you are relaxing doesn’t mean you won’t be productive, take this time to check off some items off of your to-do list that have been hanging out there. Maybe even go ahead and check something off of your bucklist!
Unplug. This is important because of the way technology is today the lines between home and work have blurred. Smartphones allow you to check emails anywhere and everywhere which can tempt you into continuing your work at home even when you aren’t on the clock. To keep this from happening you need to draw a line and disconnect from those things that can distract you from your home life. If you are at your kids soccer game put your phone on do not disturb. If you are having dinner with your family do the same. Make sure your co-workers know and respect the fact that work isn’t going to encroach on your home life.
In order to make sure you are using your time efficiently and getting everything done you need to prioritize your work. It will take a few minutes of your time at the start of your day but will ensure that the rest of your work day is as productive as possible. To make sure you are prioritizing tasks correctly you need to follow a few simple steps in order to maximize your work time.
Everything isn’t equal, its a simple fact. Generally 20% of your tasks or work will produce 80% of your productivity. Tasks that effect things outside of it, tasks that hold up others, or small things that have larger impacts all fit into this category. So you need to think about what completing a task will do when prioritizing them. Never default to proximity of a task for prioritizing, just because its the closest thing to you doesn’t mean its the most important or the most productive thing to work on. Instead focus on the smaller number of task that will provide the largest yield from your work day.
What needs to be done now can often be a hard question to answer as we often feel like we have to accomplish all of the tasks given to us immediately before we feel comfortable about going home. This just isn’t true. You need to rate things on two values. First, is this task important and how important is it? Second, is the completion of this task urgent and how urgent is it? From there you can use something like the image below in order to help you better prioritize your tasks. This will essentially let you divide your tasks into 4 separate categories. Do it Immediately, delegate to somebody else, decide when to do it, and do it later.
Learn to say no
You don’t have to say yes to every task ask of you. Sometimes it might not be in your wheel house, maybe you are already overloaded, or don’t have the additional time needed for the task. Its okay to say no. To be a yes man is to drown in tasks. Taking on more tasks then you can complete actually looks worse then letting whoever is asking that you can’t do it because of XY or Z. Being upfront like that lets people know that you know what you are doing and you know what you can get in done. This will let people know you are dependable and that if you take something on you will complete it.
Be willing to drop things
Too often we get caught up in this idea that we have to do everything ourselves. That isn’t true. If something is sucking your time or your energy don’t be afraid to drop it. This will free up more for you to put to better use on other things. The worse thing you can ever do is stick to something that causes undue stress without gain be it personal or professional.
Efficient errand running is a big ticket item in this area. Look at the daily, weekly, and monthly errands you have to do regularly. Where can you be more efficient? Say instead of spending an hour at the store after work why not order your groceries from online at the end of the day and have them delivered to your home instead. Or if you can’t always get to the dry cleaner before it closes maybe looking into one that will pick up and drop it off for you. If there is a task that you think you could probably do without doing yourself then chances are there is probably a service out there to help you out with it. Its up to you on how much of that you want to hand over for others to take care of.
Don’t worry about perfection, perfection is a pitfall. You’ll always find something to tweak or change in any task you do. There is always room for improvement but at a certain point you need to realize when to leave well enough alone and label that task as complete. It is never going to be the epitome of a completely perfect polished task, so don’t be afraid to let go of the need for perfection.
Heart pumping, body moving activity time! That’s right you need to get moving. Take time to walk around a bit or maybe schedule a work out. Its not healthy or good for you to be sitting in one place all day. You need to take care of yourself and part of that is making sure you get some exercise. This will also help stave off of the feeling of being trapped at work and needing to escape. Plus it will help you move towards a healthier you. What could be a better side effect?
Switch things up
Take a step back from your routine. Alot of the time we get so in a rut with our daily routines that we can’t even see when it isn’t working anymore. You might even need to get an outside perspective on this one in order to make sure you are truly using your time to the best of your ability. And if you are one of those people who needs change anyways doing something as simple as changing up your routine can help keep the work day from feeling so monotonous.
This is probably the most important thing, so I saved it for last. You need to let people know what you are doing and ask them not only to respect the changes you are trying to do but support you as well. Let your co-workers know not to disturb you at home unless its an emergency, and let your family know the same when it comes to work. When doing a large change such as this its also nice to find people who are trying the same thing in order to find support in sticking with it. Check with other co-workers who might be working towards a more balanced life and maybe even set up check ins to make sure everybody is striving towards it.