Most people work in an office or a corporate environment. Work life balance is of utmost importance to most employees these days. But how do we achieve work life balance every single day when there are always conflicting demands on our time? Improve productivity can't be done if we don't have a proper balance between our work and personal lives. I've been trying to find ways to increase my productivity through reading self-improvement books, listening to inspirational audiobooks, and learning from successful entrepreneurs. I hope these tips help you achieve work life balance and improve productivity.
Get organized. Whether you prefer to use a physical planner or a calendar app, make sure everything is written down and in one place. There are tons of great productivity apps out there too, but I like using an old school notebook for my to-do lists, and keep my notes with Evernote.
Keep your workspace tidy. Clean off your desk at the end of each workday so you're ready to roll when you wake up in the morning and feel motivated instead of overwhelmed by the clutter around you (studies have shown that just looking at piles of mess can cause anxiety).
Focus on results instead of hours.
Too often, we’re so focused on how much time we’re spending doing things that it takes away from the important thing: results. If you find yourself working in front of a computer and feeling like you’re just barely making progress, take a step back and ask yourself if the hours you spend working are actually creating something useful.
For example, even though I’m busy with freelance work—a lot of which entails traveling—I still set aside several hours each week to work in my office at home. The time is different every day; some days I have nothing to do, other days I have 10 minutes to spare (and then I go on Instagram). Sometimes it feels like a waste of time—like I should be out networking or meeting deadlines—but successful freelancers must make sacrifices to achieve their goals. Moreover, this particular hobby has allowed me to create more than just writing articles; it’s also helped me build a successful business that will help pay for grad school down the road. Plus, by setting consistent expectations for myself and breaking down my tasks into manageable chunks, I can manage distractions and focus on what really matters. It may not be sexy but its effectiveness is undeniable!
Flexible working hours.
Flexible working hours are becoming more and more common, as people tire of the traditional 9-to-5. And with many managers now recognizing that flexible working is a key factor in employee engagement and retention, it’s never been easier to ask for flexible working hours.
There are lots of ways to make a case for more flexible hours in your current role. Flexible working is proven to increase staff commitment and productivity, as well as improve their health and wellbeing. Plus, you can adjust your hours to maximize your productivity, based on when you work best during the day - whether that’s straight after breakfast, or late into the evening.
If you like what you see so far then here’s how to negotiate the ideal work schedule with your boss:
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You don't want to spend all day in a busy coffee shop and you definitely don't want to be working in your living room with the TV on. You need your own space, one where you can focus. Find a place that suits you best, whether it's a home office, or a desk at the local library. The trickiest part of working remotely is finding the ideal location for yourself; one that works for you and not just anyone else.
Once you've got it down though, the benefits are endless: You can work from wherever you wish (so long as there's an internet connection). That means if your partner/children/roommate is bugging you or driving you up the wall (or both), then simply pack up your laptop, grab some lunch and head off elsewhere to work!
One way to save time is to distribute your workload appropriately. You'll swiftly notice that there are some things you're better at than others, and vice versa. By allowing your team to handle the tasks they're best suited for, you can optimize your workflow and set yourself up for success by focusing on what you do best. Delegating also reduces stress and builds trust between employees, a win all around!
Take care of the body and mind.
When you take care of your body and mind, it’s easier to stay creative. Eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and exercise, enjoying time with friends and family and taking time for hobbies will all help you feel less stressed and more creative during the work day.
Eat healthy foods:
Eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Limit unhealthy snacks like junk food, desserts or fast food. Keep healthy snacks handy so it's easy to reach for them instead of indulging in unhealthy choices.
Get enough sleep:
Get seven or eight hours of sleep a night. If you can't get that much sleep at night, try taking 20-minute naps during the day when you have down time (but don't let this interfere with productive working time).
Say no when necessary.
If you want to learn how to say no, it’s not that difficult. Like many other things in life, it’s a choice – and once you make the decision to say no when necessary, you will be already half-way there.
Don’t say yes to every task: You don’t have to accept every task offered by your boss or co-workers. If the task is outside of your job description or you have no interest in completing it, politely decline. If someone needs help with something, but it doesn't really affect you if they don't get help, then don't feel obligated to agree. It's better for everyone that way.
Don’t try and be a perfectionist: Perfectionism is another common cause of overwork and lack of work-life balance. It may come from a desire to complete tasks perfectly or an unwillingness to delegate tasks; either way it can lead us into a cycle of overwork and guilt for not getting enough done. You may think that what you do isn't good enough unless everything is perfect - but actually perfectionism can cause more stress than most people realize!
Don’t feel guilty for saying no: Saying “no” means that they can find someone else who wants the job or has more time on their hands than yourself!
Work from a place you feel productive in.
Working from a place you feel productive in is important if you want to be at your most productive. If your work environment doesn't help you focus and get things done, then it's time to reconsider where you work. You could try working from home if it works for you and your job situation, or try a coffee shop that isn't too crowded but not completely silent either. You could also try working from the office some days, maybe once or twice a week so that the newness of it doesn't wear off, and trying out different hotel rooms when on business trips to see which one helps you focus the best. Wherever you decide to work from all depends on what atmosphere, noise level and other factors help you do your best work.
Learn to switch off from work.
While work is important, it shouldn’t be everything. The best way to achieve a healthy work life balance is to learn to switch off from work when you’re not working. Practice self-discipline so that even when you’re at home, you don’t think about work or talk about it with your family. If the temptation gets too strong and you need an environment change, then take the time get out of the office.
Communication and planning are key in making sure that interruptions to your day remain rare and unimportant. In addition to working hard, find time for yourself and things that aren't work related. Take breaks during your day so that you don't end up exhausted or unproductive, or constantly prone to bad habits like drinking too much caffeine or eating junk food as a substitute for real meals and restful sleep. If you're tired, go home early; if it's late in the evening but there's nothing really pressing happening at the moment, leave! Look away from Twitter and focus on your family instead (or whatever else makes YOU feel better). Do some meditation, go on vacation once in a while (even if it's only for a long weekend), explore new hobbies outside of your area of expertise...look into getting a massage...get enough sleep...exercise!
Work life balance is important for your mental health and productivity, so it's not something you should neglect.
The importance of work-life balance can't be understated. It's not just a nice-to-have, it's essential to your physical and mental wellness—and overall productivity. Achieving the perfect balance is an ongoing endeavor that may change over time: What worked for you in your 20s may not work when you have kids, or vice versa. But it's worth putting in the effort to maintain a healthy balance by prioritizing areas you may have let slip. When one area becomes too unbalanced, it can make everything else feel out of whack, so focus on bringing things back into equilibrium. Let's take a look at some benefits that come from finding this elusive equilibrium—and how to get there.