Achieving a Healthy Work-Life Balance:
Recently, I had a conversation with a coworker who was complaining about the difficulties of juggling her work schedule. She explained that she frequently has called at 6 am to accommodate professionals on the east coast and will also have calls planned at 11 pm with professionals from another part of the world on the same day. She felt she could work nonstop and yet fall short of everything expected of her at work.
With the advent of the internet and other obstacles, it is now possible to work nonstop, provided we give in to other people’s needs and expectations. Our professions can feel like we are constantly running after the elusive carrot of Work-Life Balance or the more modern Work-Life Fit, with our calendars continually filling up with calls, meetings, networking events, action items, and critical deadlines.
Use helpful calendaring tools (like the Microsoft Outlook email service as an example) and time management ideas to reclaim your life. You’ll be able to consistently bring your A-game to the office since you’ll have more time to be with loved ones and recharge your batteries outside of work.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance:
First, establish clear limits; you, more than anyone else, know how much you can handle and when you’re reaching capacity. When we are constantly bombarded with demands from customers and coworkers, it’s natural to feel resentful. Remember that the people sending us requests probably have no idea how much we already have on our plates. Burnout can cause requests to go through the cracks, poor quality work, and even health difficulties, so setting, communicating, and upholding boundaries is crucial.
2) Determine the times when you are available to work. Using common sense is required; if your profession typically requires 40- to 50-hour weeks, trying to get by on 30 may not end well. On the other hand, working 80-100 hour weeks is unrealistic and could harm your health in the long run. Plan out your workday with the help of your calendar. Schedule regular intervals to check email (and mark them as busy), make phone calls, hold team meetings (and indicate them as available), etc. Being too accommodating with your schedule could lead to a backlog of tasks.
Take control of your schedule. Schedule time on your calendar to work on your deliverables, presentations, etc., and stick to the times you set. Don’t shortchange yourself (or your team) by taking on more work unless you’re confident in your ability to do it all with integrity and excellence.
Fourthly, set reasonable goals. Plan your day around the calls you know you’ll be getting at 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. Determine the times of day and days of the week you’re willing to be reached, then mark your calendar with those times as “available” and let people know you’re available for them. Schedule a time to check your email, finish your homework, get enough sleep, etc., before or after you know you’ll be super busy.
Keep your private time private. If you answer emails, take calls, and work on projects during the time you’ve set aside for yourself, you’re sending the message that your time is less important than other people’s. Schedule personal time with family and friends (as busy), exercise (as active), and sleep (as recurring out of office) and treat it as sacred as if it were a child’s doctor appointment. It may be crucial to your health and well-being.
Six) Both a yes and a no. Saying something like, “I can’t do ABC, but what I can do is XYZ,” is a highly persuasive argument. It shows that you care about the group’s success, that you’re eager to pitch in, and that you can handle more responsibility. You are aware of when you can and cannot be reached. Contrast a “No” and a “Yes” like this: Say something like, “I’m trying to meet a tight deadline, but if this (request) can wait until Wednesday (offer genuine availability), I’d be happy to take a look at it then.”
Not every email request is an emergency, even if written in all capital letters with exclamation marks. Many emails have the option to be read at a later time and date. This is helpful if you must attend to several pressing issues simultaneously but also want to avoid letting less important tasks slide. If you use it as your primary email client, Outlook has a reminder function (shown by a red flag icon). If you right-click on the banner and choose Add Reminder from the menu that appears, you can set a reminder. Schedule a time to respond to the request, hit OK, save, and exit the message. A reminder window will appear on your screen at the time and date you specify, and an email will be sent to the address you specify.
Makeup answers to questions and then test them out. Knowing what to say is one of the most challenging aspects of boundary broadcasting. Create a list of catchphrases that may be used in various professional settings, and then practice repeating them aloud (doing so in the vehicle can be pretty helpful). And then employ such sentences to safeguard the intervals you’ve set up. Some instances are as follows: “I would like to help, but I have several urgent deadlines I am working to meet,” or “I have another call at that time that I am unable to reschedule, but let’s schedule a follow-up call to go over any action items I can help with” are both acceptable responses. I’ll be on vacation from [date range], but I can check in with you when I get back to see if you still need help if that’s okay”; “I’ll have some time to help if you can wait until [offer time frame].”
Setting appropriate limits will help you avoid feeling like a hamster on a wheel at work. When the hamster tires of the revolution, what will it do? How much are the long-term repercussions of working unreasonably long hours while carrying an excessive workload?
The bottom line is that everyone wins when you’re happy and healthy at work: you, your coworkers, your clients, and your business. It gives you more stamina, makes it easier to concentrate, and makes progressing in your profession a pleasurable experience more likely to bear fruit in the long run.
Read Finding Francesca on Amazon.com to learn more about self-care strategies: