In an age where technology and working patterns are evolving at a rapid rate, it can seem impossible to achieve work-life balance and career success. If we are to thrive in our roles and companies, we need to work hard and sacrifice some other elements of our lives. Right?
Not necessarily. While climbing the corporate ladder can certainly be an arduous task, it doesn’t always mean that your career must be the sole focus of your life. There are ways to stay on top of your job (as it continues to change) and still have time for a personal life too.
Here are 7 ways to achieve better work-life balance:
Don’t be a yes man
Learning to say no is crucial in ensuring you don’t get overloaded. If you find it difficult to refuse requests from management or colleagues, delay answering so you have time to properly consider what you’re undertaking. Communicate better by using phrases like: “I’ll check my tasklist and get back to you,” or “I’ll need to review my calendar before committing to that.”
When it comes to finishing up your work day, switching off your device is as important as leaving the building. Sign out of your work email and set your status to “unavailable”. It will still be there in the morning. You’re not saving lives. (Note: If you are saving lives please feel free to respond to your emails.)
Plan your downtime
Find what relaxes you and incorporate it into your day. It might be yoga, kickboxing, cooking or just listening to a podcast but make sure you add it to your schedule like you would a work task. If you treat it as an afterthought it devalues it’s importance and you’ll end up skipping it. You’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of ticking something off your task list.
An important factor in achieving a good work-life balance is learning to let go of the reins a bit. Get organised, delegate what tasks you can, and trust your colleagues or staff to carry these out effectively. Trying to do everything yourself is a sure fire way to minimise your free time and irritate your team.
Don’t squander your time
Don’t equate hours worked to productivity. What you achieve in those hours is a much better indicator of how productive you are being. Small changes can make a big difference to your results, working smart trumps working hard!
Avoid the drain
Wherever possible, limit the time you spend dealing with time wasting people. Some ways to do this are to insist on a meeting rather than informal call or chat and to request an agenda before all meetings so there is a clear structure. Avoid unnecessary meetings wherever possible.
Determine your own success
Don’t be too dependent on others for validation. Although it’s important to satisfy your superior’s expectations, it’s more important to satisfy your own. Determine your own goals for success.