We live in busy times. Our sales targets keep increasing. Our schedules are consistently packed, and all of us are looking for that perfect work-life balance because we understand its relevance to our effectiveness and efficiency at work.
And then there’s our obsession with social media. Jackie Stone, CMO of MiMedia, a personal cloud storage company, told Business News Daily: “I’ve worked in digital media for more than 20 years, and as we become more connected, more people have decided that staying ‘on’ 24/7 is socially acceptable — and it’s not.”
In short, when we’re constantly responding to tweets or clients’ online inquiries, the result is that we use our relaxation time for work. And that’s not good.
The ideal of course is to give 100 percent of ourselves to each task each time. If it’s work, give your all. If it’s family, 100 percent Other personal stuff, 100 percent. That way, no part of our lives or our work time will be lacking. But that’s not realistic. And where frustration sets in is our realization that one or the other, either our work or personal life requires more attention than the other.
If you yourself are struggling with this issue of work-life balance, these simple steps will help you tremendously.
1. Manage your time efficiently.
Do the hardest tasks first. In his popular book, Eat That Frog!, Brian Tracy quotes Mark Twain saying, “If you eat a frog for breakfast, chances are that will be the worst thing you have to do all day.” The quote suggests that if you do your hardest tasks first each day, even if you don’t complete everything on your to-do-list, you will still feel fulfilled.
Dedicating time to the most important tasks is the key. And to do this, you need a planned schedule. Never start your day without a planned schedule. Set deadlines for tasks and stick to them. Concentrate on important and urgent tasks. Quit procrastinating!
2. Don’t always say yes.
Your commitment to your work is admirable, but to get a work-life balance, you need to learn how to say no and actually mean it.
Eileen Carey, CEO of Glassbreakers, put it this way, “Say no at work when you are assigned a task that does not fall under your job description and could be easily accomplished by the person who is asking it. It’s important to say no at work because it earns you respect. If you aren’t getting paid to do something, and the task will take away time from accomplishing what you are paid to do, saying no demonstrates your commitment to your role and the value of your time.”
Do what you can, but minimize your unnecessary workload.
3. Prioritize, then delegate.
“The surest way for an executive to kill himself is to refuse to learn how, and when, and to whom to delegate work,” said James Cash Penney, founder of the J.C. Penney retail chain.
While you’re at work, a lot of things will demand a share of your time. But to find balance, you need to prioritize and delegate effectively.
In the words of John Kovacs, CEO of TorcUP, “Doing everything yourself doesn’t serve your desire for balance. The more tasks you delegate, the more time you have to focus on what is important, and the implication is more time for other personal passions.”
4. Live healthy and fit.
The essence of work is to make a healthy living. You need to be healthy to execute those bulky projects. Set health goals the same way you set work goals.
Exercise regularly. Make it part of your routine. It will not just help you reduce body fat and look fitter, but will also help to prevent other cardiovascular diseases, and increase your stamina and general energy level.
Also, many entrepreneurs miss out on resting and sleeping adequately, and they end up working until they break down. Don’t make that your story. Depriving yourself of sleep occasionally for a few hours to work on a project could be understandable, but it should not become a habit.
And most important, eat right; as the saying goes, you are what you eat. This means reduce junk food. And, of course, make it a habit to drink water every day; this will not only help to detoxify your body but will prevent dehydration.
5. Get help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you need an assistant to help you return mails and take calls, get one. Ask your co-workers, friends or even family for help with a task if you need it. Don’t be a lone striker; we all need midfielders to win in the game.
I remember working on an article with my family. I simply assigned parts of the research I needed to different family members, and the project was super-fun. My work was completed and my family seemed to enjoy the task.
The long and short of all this is that you need others to survive, so let people know they are important to you by trusting them with tasks. Admit when you don’t know how to proceed, and get help. Save yourself some time — and frustration.