Alert: you probably haven’t thought about your new year’s promises in a bit. How’s your resolution of achieving a better work/life balance going?
Not surprisingly, many of us start the new year telling ourselves we are going to begin separating our work and personal lives in a better, more manageable way. Yet, once the hoopla of life actually starts, the goal begins to appear lofty and out of reach. Why? Who knows. Perhaps it’s nothing more than the actual task of getting started. Because, as many of us know very well, setting a goal is much different than actually following through on it.
For starters, half the problem with setting a goal is knowing how to properly define parameters for it that not only make sense but are actually achievable. As Americans, it’s in our nature to create standards that may seem appropriate, but far surpass our actual abilities.
How can you blame us? We are an optimistic bunch with go-getter attitudes who want to be challenged. We are achievers and strive to constantly improve ourselves, and for that we should not be ashamed. We just need to remind ourselves here and there that grounding our thoughts in a realistic, manageable way is the best option for succeeding in our goals.
Forbes shared The Northwestern MutualVoice Team’s 5 Tips For Achieving Work/Life Balance in 2015. Naturally, we here at AccelaWork were intrigued with their point of view. Check out the tips below with some of our thoughts.
Work your values
Just because you can do it all doesn’t mean that you should. We each have a finite amount of awesome in our brain … To make sure you have bandwidth for what matters most to you, prioritize and organize. Decide which responsibilities and relationships are most meaningful, and then use your calendar to actively block out time to ensure you meet those personal and professional commitments.
Let’s be honest, no one “can do it all”. That’s a phrase you hear from people who are (no offense here) workaholics. If you are under the impression you can do everything on your own, have no reason to delegate projects / tasks to others, or are married to your job, you may want to take a closer look at how well you’re managing on your own. Because believe us, be it your personal life or an area within your job, somewhere, somehow, a portion of your life is suffering.
Focus on first things first
Instead of letting the day dictate your schedule, take control and schedule your time according to your energy level and needs. That way you can dedicate 100 percent of your peak performance hours to the tasks that are most important.
Get a calendar and stick to it. And, no matter what you do, don’t allow others to dictate how you plan your day! You may not always be able to avoid meetings, phone calls or last minute problems, but blocking out time for uninterrupted workflow is imperative to your own productivity and happiness.
Don’t confuse urgent with important
As you organize your tasks for the day, ask yourself if what you’re focused on is worth the effort.
Prioritizing project work is a lot more difficult than we think. To most of us, every task and project is important. Expectations placed upon us by our clients, peers, managers, and/or companies have created this frame of mind. So, it’s easy to see how people find distinguishing between tasks a tough feat. In this way, it’s not as much about determining what’s important, rather what’s crucial to achieve for the day. Set your timeline to determine what needs to get done now vs. what can afford to be delayed, delegated or (in cases of outdated processes) what can be transitioned out.
Be a tech ninja
Schedule a few times each day to check and respond to emails, texts and phone calls. That way you’ll avoid responding to other people’s needs at the expense of your own.
If you are an avid follower of The Methodology Blog, then you know how we feel about email. Simply put, don’t let it dictate and interrupt your workflow.
Take baby steps
…making small changes to introduce more personal time into your schedule. For example, if you find yourself feeling tired all the time, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight than you did the night before.
There’s no harm in transitioning slowly into balancing work and personal time — so long as you’re actually doing it. And no, laying in bed checking your work email is not considered a good balance.
True balance isn’t really possible all the time. Being aware of where you are is what matters. Take time to evaluate, time to work hard, and also time to relax. All are crucial to your well-being.