Making an action plan is an important first step to take when looking at practical ways to have a more harmonious work/life balance.
Your professional life
In 2011, a study of almost 8000 surgeons found participants had experienced a work/life imbalance within the past three weeks. It was seen as one of the top three factors contributing to burnout. Reaching the tipping point can be avoided by taking some of the following steps:
Prioritise and delegate
If you are a manager, it is important not to micromanage. We can become consumed with making every little decision so that it seems there is zero time left for better management. In the end, it is not about working too hard, it is about working smarter. Ask yourself, are you prioritising your tasks? Or, are you spending time on things that are too simple or could be outsourced?
Recognise your process
To prioritise your time, start with analysing your daily routine at work. What makes you do overtime at work or start extra early in the mornings? Make a list right now. Beside each item, write down a logical resolution to acting on those items. Focus on the big picture and see if you are missing something. For example, is your office located in an area that attracts clients, or are you spending too much time and energy on travelling and marketing across town? Analyse and see where you can make changes that would fix some of those things on your list.
For most of us, having control of our work hours has shown significant improvement in job satisfaction and work/life balance. Flexible working environments, such as working remotely through cloud based systems and hot desking, have resulted in people feeling they have more balance in their life. This is because they can make their job and home life harmonise without feeling like they are compromising on anything. The results of taking initiative and asking for a more flexible schedule is a game changer. More and more workplaces are adopting flexible approaches as they are recognising the benefit they have for employees’ wellbeing and increased productivity.
It is important to get some words out. You may assume that other people hear and understand your stressors or your concerns. The truth is, they often don’t know until you tell them about it. Everyone is trying to get through their day and their work week in their own way. If there is something holding you back from your own potential that you feel someone could assist you with, let them know. Gary Keller said “Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls, family, health, friends, and integrity, are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, or perhaps even shattered.”
Your personal life
In a recent study by the Mayo Clinic, a survey of 900 staff and their partners found the strongest predictor of relationship satisfaction is the amount of awake time spent with partners daily, not the number of hours worked. Below are some tips on how to be effective with balancing your life.
1. Schedule some family time.
Scheduling is crucial. We make appointments with hairdressers, lawyers and other professionals but often forget to show the same commitment to the people closest to us. It may seem a bit formal but it guarantees that you slot in time when you and your partner, friends or family can put work aside and enjoy some quality time together. Send a calendar invite or leave a Post-It note on the fridge, whatever invitation you pick, make the get together something to look forward to.
2. Create a weekly log-off routine.
Pick a day of the week or a time slot during the day that is specifically allocated to your friends, your family or even just you-time. Make sure to communicate this to your colleagues and superiors so that they will not expect you to pick up a call during this time. Sticking to this routine will ensure you will not be interrupted from whatever you choose to do in that time slot. Remember, habits are learned over time.
3. Stay away from technology.
With mobile phones and other devices right at our fingertips it can be hard to completely log out and rest. Respect and treasure the time you get to spend with your family and preferably keep your phone away. Try limiting television time and avoid distractions such as computer games.
Thomas Buxton said, “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it,”
So if you think your work/life balance is out of kilter, start with these three things. You could be amazed by the difference making an action plan has on your overall wellbeing.
Author: Randa Abbasi