Melinda Gates once said ‘It’s hard for women who have families to juggle work and career’. That, for most part, is true not just for women but also men.
Career is never over life and by the time people realize this it’s often too late.
CEOs and Management gurus recommend a few pointers on striking a fine balance between work and life. Don’t compromise on one to succeed in the other department, here’s how:
It’s not just work-life balance– According to Catalyst, a research firm, it’s more about work-life effectiveness than work-life balance. The idea is to achieve efficiency on both fronts. Working effectively assures that the work gets done in scheduled time leaving room for a healthy personal life.
The aim should be to attain harmony, and juxtapose your professional life with your personal life in a way that it fits perfectly overall.
Time Management– You and I have the same number of hours in a day as Warren Buffett. What we choose to do with our 24 hours in a day defines the success we achieve- both in work and in life. It is therefore imperative to decide how you can utilize time to your advantage.
The first step towards practical time management is to learn to manage priorities. Priority management gives a clear idea of what needs to be done now to get the maximum results today. Always apply the 80/20 rule- prioritize in a way that 20% of your day’s activities give 80% of the day’s result. Besides being an effective time management nugget, this rule also increases efficiency.
Self Management– There are people who work hard and there are people who work smart. And then there are people who think they work hard and smart but the results speak otherwise.
Focus is imperative to work-life balance. The more thoroughly involved you are in one aspect of your life, the faster you can do it. This means more time for family and leisure. The easiest way to do this is by planning ahead.
Plan out your day the night before, your To Do list should contain not only tasks but also a deadline for each. And yes, make it flexible enough to deal with contingencies.
Avoid Negative Spillovers to Personal Life– Most of us take our work stress home, resulting in an unhealthy personal life. Work-life conflict is also the major reason why so many families cannot sustain as a happy unit.
When you step out of the office or turn off your computers, your work issues should be boxed up and stored away. This is easier said than done, though not impossible altogether. You have to condition your mind to switch that work stress button off on command. One way to do that is to meditate for a few minutes before you leave office. Going to the gym straight from work helps too.
Another tip is to lighten the load towards the end of the work day. If you are working on an important and stressful project, make sure you do the chunk of it early in the day and concentrate on the smaller parts towards the end. This puts the brain in slow gear by reducing adrenaline rush associated with pressure projects.
Say Goodbye to Perfection– As Salvador Dali puts it ‘Have no fear of perfection- you’ll never reach it’. Some people are perfectionists by nature, whether it is drawing a blueprint or doing laundry, they just need it done right. This means they keep re-visiting the same thing over and over gain resulting in loss of time and the perfectionist tinge is also perfect recipe for added stress.
There is a need for perfectionists to tell themselves that they gave their best and the work is good enough, maybe not perfect but good enough. That sounds great but how to get rid of the nagging voice in the head that pleads you to do it one more time?
Distraction, do something you love; listen to your favorite song, meet up friends, go for a coffee with your partner or simply pick up an exciting book to read. Exercising helps too, some people swear by yoga while some are fans of weight lifting.
Another proven option is to condition your mind to be aware of these thoughts. These thoughts are called saboteurs because they sabotage your mental and emotional state. It takes time but you can learn to identify the triggers for these thoughts and meditate on it.
Keep Some Time Aside for Leisure– Not many include ‘free time’ in their to-do list. But psychologists say that if you are aware of something good scheduled for the day, you are more likely to be focused and tend to work efficiently.
Technology Management– Technology has taken over our lives. From working with clients all over the world to business meetings on Skype, technology has done wonders for both our professional and personal lives. But we need to draw the line somewhere to keep things real.
Check inbox only twice a day, and once you sign out of your work mail don’t be tempted to go back.
Learn to Say No– If your boss calls you late at night to work on a high-priority project, you say yes. If your boss calls you late at night to work on a high-priority project seven times in a month, you say no.
You must know when to shift into your non-professional mode. If you have a scheduled free time or you’re about to sleep, say no to work no matter how pressing it is. You can’t be available 24×7 for work.
This generational shift has compromised on work-life balance too much. Don’t let life pass you.