As we get stuck into the daily and weekly routines of our lives in 2022, it is a valuable time to reflect on not only how we incorporate new goals and plans into our schedules, but also how we maintain our work-life balance.
An average person spends 80,000 hours of their lives working and as we all ride the latest wave of the pandemic with encouragement to work from home the lines between work and life can blur. It is important therefore to focus on managing our lives so that work does not seep into our personal time.
If you would like some guidance on setting goals and sticking them please check out our recent blog post on how to Make 2022 your Best Year Yet.
Current work-life balance
Start by asking yourself a few key questions:
How do you work now and what does balance look like for you?
Second, are you managing your workload within normal working hours? If not, could you achieve the same results with better time management and prioritisation?” If you are not sure, it is wise to have a good look at your working patterns. Keep track of your working hours over a couple of weeks and you may be surprised at what you learn about yourself. If you include the hours spent worrying or thinking about work, you may be slightly horrified by just how much time you are devoting to work, and this can be a good indicator of work-related stress.
Thirdly, look at how your use of digital technology creeps into your life. Are you answering emails while eating or relaxing in front of the tv? If this is happening to you, add this into your work analysis. After a couple of weeks, you may be quite shocked at the time you spend drifting into answering emails or scanning social media.
Flexible and home working have become watchwords over the last couple of years. However, it is crucially important to ensure there are clear dividing lines between your work and home life.
Staying motivated can be a big challenge for those working from home. It is far too easy to be interrupted by family or pets and distracted by things around the house. Setting clear boundaries between work and home time becomes even more important, so you can tap into your ability to apply self-discipline to structure your day and establish an effective routine.
Be clear about when your workday starts and stick to this time. The same applies to the end of your day, as it is important to set your working hours and stick to them. If you find yourself repeatedly drifting out of these set times, review them and reset your working hours to suit your needs. If a half-hour walk at lunchtime is important for your wellbeing, along with time to sit down and eat a healthy lunch, then set this time aside in your diary and preserve it from interruptions. Stick to your guns over these protected times and try not to let them drift or be disrupted by colleagues with demands on your time.
Being able to reach your goals comes down to a couple of key actions – plan and be organised so you can achieve the goals you have set yourself.
Personal organisation is key to making progress towards your goals and this can be as basic as having a tidy and well-organised bedroom or home so that you can find everything you need when you need it. If your clothes cover the bedroom floor, then getting dressed in the morning is always going to be a challenge. But if all your clothes are organised and put away in their respective homes then its easy to find everything you need.
This applies to your work life as well so ensuring that you have everything you need for work is a big part of improving your personal efficiency. This applies to your working space and your computer, so even if you hate filing try to spend time organising your work into files so you can find it quickly when you need it. The same applies to how you manage your time so create a written ‘to-do list’ and set boundaries in terms of the number of times you check your emails and social media accounts. If time management is an issue, try developing some approaches that might start to re-focus you such as bullet journaling, or by incorporating the Pomodoro Technique into how your workday. By organising your time efficiently you can devote yourself to the bigger tasks that you need to accomplish each day.
If you can delegate tasks, do it and try to deflect additional tasks that come your way. Most importantly learn to say ‘no,’ to extra work and learn to manage interruptions and distractions, so you can stay focused on the task at hand.
Focus on your Health
Without good health making the changes we want to make in our lives may be more difficult to achieve. Try not to duck the obvious and if you need to work on your health then make sure it is in the forefront of each day. Make sure you have enough sleep, eat healthily, and get the sort of exercise you enjoy.
Good health is not just about our physical health, so it is just as important to manage our mental health as well. This might mean managing work-based stress or anxiety, but it is important that you start to build the right strategies for both your physical health and mental wellbeing.
At Aim Higher Training we have produced a free guide covering our Top Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance which you can download from our website.