How to Achieve Good Work-Life Balance.
The Headlines – make sure that you are working to your line manager’s schedule, make sure that you do not lose touch with friends or family and NEVER check your office emails at night.
Getting the position that you have set out to obtain is a truly satisfying feeling and should be celebrated and enjoyed. But, once you have got your proverbial feet under the desk there has to be some sensible self-preservation to be exercised to make sure that you actually keep the job you have worked so hard to get!
Employers are demanding people – just as you will be once your rise upwards through the managerial system will show. Keeping a schedule that burns all available hours is impressive and you no doubt think this is a clear signal that you are committed and a “company person” through and through – what comes as a nasty surprise however is that when your output (quality not quantity) gets challenged it is often too late to redress the balance.
This HAS to be balanced against an active social and family life simply because too much emphasis on work output (the dreaded “presenteeism” of recent years) makes you significantly less productive, less attractive to be around and less likely to get promoted. See above regarding quality versus quantity!
The key here is to ensure a strong Work-Life Balance that works for all concerned.
- Look at how your workplace functions and bend your hours around that
If the culture is an early start then adopt that with vigour but remember that you are only productive for so many hours of the day! Make sure that you are flexible with your time to accommodate how your team works.
Will you actually be adding any value by still being at work at 8pm? This is very unlikely if you are in a fog of tiredness before you set off on the commute home. Get to fully understand how the organisation works and then use this to really effectively plan your time.
- Use technology wisely
Switching on the lap top first thing is important but it is equally important to use the off switch with as much regularity. Will the world end because you did not get the email from your manager at 23.45? I doubt it. Even President Obama and David Cameron sleep yet the world still spins!
Being constantly harangued by emails is an evil of today but an evil only during working hours. Excessive mobile use is also not good and far too many of us take our mobiles on holiday and take and receive calls from the beach. That is an unhealthy state of mind to have. Ditto for emails. Give yourself some serious breathing space and stick to times when you are not available.
- Make sure you use work time very effectively
Always recognise that not all tasks and projects that you take on are equally important. As such make sure that you allocate out your time – and therefore your energy – very carefully with this in mind. This should be done consistently and methodically as buying the office consumables pales into insignificance alongside preparing for the £500,000 sales pitch.
Make sure your profile rises in accordance with your performance on key, visible and important projects. Nobody wants to be recognised for their expertise in negotiating a 3% reduction in the cost of the office tea bags do they?
- Keep up social ties and links with the family
Spending time with loved ones outside the workplace is crucial to maintaining a work-life balance and a healthy mental wellbeing. Try to keep in regular contact with friends and family and carve out time in your schedule to do just this. Always bear in mind that friends and family can help provide a much-needed break from the working environment.
- Healthy Body Healthy Mind
Find time for a commitment to physical exercise as this is especially important in reducing daily stress and maintaining good levels of mental and physical fitness. Look at cycling to work, take up sports at the weekend and develop contacts/friends outside the 9 to 5 work frame.
- Look for signs of burn-out (before others see it)
If you feel as though you are on the edge of burnout, talk to your manager about how this can be addressed. It may be that you have too much on, in which case they might be able to draft in additional support from a colleague to alleviate pressure. Equally, it might be that everyone is in the same boat and feeling the pressure, due to being understaffed, or working towards a significant pitch for example. These periods should be in peaks and troughs though, so recognise if things are getting out of hand.
For more information on our services please contact us at www.davidsummertonconsulting.co.uk