07 Feb Work Less, Live More
Every day, we get pulled in a million different directions. We need to be there for our kids’ sports games, support our parents as they grow older, and we need to be there for our friends when they go through hard times. Of course, your career is not waiting around while you are balancing those duties at home, so we have to find that coveted “work/life balance.” Finding that sweet spot can be difficult for many employees. Here are a few easy steps you can take in your workweek routine to help you achieve success on the teeter-totter of life.
Eliminate self imposed distractions
Social media surfing and repetitive email checking create constant interruptions to your workflow. Try to set specific times during the day when you can quickly check what it happening on social media and then get back to your day. You are creating your own distractions, so learn how to curb the need to be connected. Perhaps you use it as a reward once you have completed a major task in the morning – you can grab a coffee and check your social media before jumping in and concentrating on the next task. In a 2016 Harris Poll commissioned by Careerbuilder.com, 3 of 4 employers estimate that workers waste at least 2 hours a day due to self imposed distractions. Mobile phone usage is the top offender of reduced office productivity, more than half the employers claimed. Your colleagues notice when you are constantly checking your social feed or your emails. Have them remember you for the work you do, not the time you spend on social distractions. Restricting distractions allow you to finish work earlier and with less stress, allowing you to work less and live more.
If you find that you are constantly in meetings and your productivity is dropping, the culprit may be you and your team. Does everyone come to the table with their laptop open and their phone on? Are they constantly typing but not really engaging in the meeting? Why are you even having the meeting anyway? These types of distractions create a barrier between you and those around you. Unless it is your job to take notes during the meeting, use this time to close your laptop, turn off your phone, and engage with what is happening in the meeting (and encourage your colleagues to do the same!). It might even shorten the time the meeting takes if everyone is present and engaged with one another. Get your team looking at each other and asking questions throughout.
Plan your day the night before
We all have rollover tasks. These are those tasks that you did not complete by the time you were shutting down your computer for the day. Make sure you know what is still pending when you leave that night. Take a few minutes to write down what you need to accomplish from the day before. This will help you focus in the morning when you are rushing in from sitting in traffic all morning or perhaps handling a last minute task request from a client. You can list pending deadlines for projects or the topic of the last email you needed to look at. If you know what you left pending from the day before, you can make sure that those tasks don’t get pushed aside by the challenges mornings create. “Having a good start to the day where you have greater control is critical in achieving better results, and ultimately greater career success,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant.
Structure your day
Set up routines throughout your day. Do you need a cup of coffee before the 9:30 meeting? Do you feel that you can get your best work done in the late afternoon? Know the rhythm of your day and set up tasks accordingly. Some folks find it best to save busy work for when their energy lags in the late afternoon. Others need a walk around the building after lunch to make sure they are refreshed for the rest of their day. By establishing mini routines to your work day, you can focus better on the tasks at hand.
Know when to say ‘no’
If you are already at your maximum workload and you just found out that your manager needs you to be the lead on the new and exciting product launch, you might need to reassess what you can really handle. Accepting this to your already stressed workload may mean that the quality of work overall will suffer or a missed deadline creating project timeline chaos. Discuss the situation in a positive way with your manager to make sure that the additional responsibilities will not adversely affect your other tasks. The fact that you care about the quality of your work will not be taken adversely.
Make a connection
Connecting to the people on your team or the company mission, or passion for the core value of the team’s work all help in creating a positive impact to your overall work life balance. According to a report by Deloitte, “Passionate workers are committed to continually achieving higher levels of performance. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, companies need passionate workers because such workers can drive extreme and sustained performance improvement.” If you are passionate about these things and you find work that you love, then you will want to be the best and provide the best service you can. Passion in a project and passion with the people you work with can make all the difference.
Although these six steps may seem simple, you will see huge impact in your daily work life balance when you decide to implement them and you will begin to work less, and live more.
For more ideas on creating a better work life balance, contact Karen Curione.