Over the last few weeks, we have delved into time management from a number of perspectives; what it is, how to achieve it, and how it benefits you and your business. In this article, we focus on how to improve work-life balance and productivity through effective time management. Besides, the ultimate goal of adopting a time management strategy in the workplace is to alleviate your busy schedule so that you focus on other meaningful activities. For example, spending time with family and friends or taking a refreshing break from work to enjoy your hobbies.
However simple it may seem, it has become increasingly challenging for professionals to improve work-life balance. This challenge is attributable to many factors, from income insecurity to technology advances that have everyone “online” at all times, worrying about everything.
We believe that it’s about time someone came up with a mental switch that will prevent us from taking our work home – it’s 2018!
Well, since technology is failing humanity in that regard, we decided to make a list of the most effective ways how to find a balance between work and life.
No matter what you choose to do in your leisure time, it is important to take some time for yourself, even during the most stressful periods of your life. This is what life coaches and professionals in the mental health sector call work-life balance.
What is work-life balance?
As the term implies, work-life balance is a state of being where your professional matters do not interfere with your personal relationships and vice versa. Essentially, it is the intentional division of time and focuses one has in order to be productive at work and, at the same time, happy outside the workplace.
However, this does not necessarily mean that your work and private life should share your time equally; just try to maintain a healthy ratio that you feel comfortable with!
The importance of work-life balance
- Mental and physical health: Numerous studies have shown that individuals who follow work-life balance strategies and practices are more likely to be mentally and physically healthier than those struggling to juggle professional and personal matters.
- Productivity: Work-life balance and productivity in the workplace go hand in hand. Well-balanced individuals are the most productive employees. Therefore, companies that actively foster employee well-being and respect their employees’ personal time experience high productivity levels.
- Happiness: By achieving work-life balance, people become inevitably happier in their everyday life. They get to truly enjoy the moment without stressing over some incident at work.
- Sense of living life with a purpose: When we improve work-life balance, we are basically leaving out all the clutter that stresses us out. We engage in things that instigate our creativity and mindfulness.
The main factor that influences the work-life ratio is, of course, time. The most common scenario is when we get obsessed to get everything done on time. That usually means overworking ourselves and completely neglecting our personal needs.
This is the reason why time management plays an important role in your efforts to live a fulfilled life.
How to improve work-life balance once and for all
1. Keep track of your time
It’s a no-brainer that in order to take control of your work-life balance you need to be aware of how your time is allocated on a daily basis. The secret to a successful life lies in all the everyday choices we make, consciously or not. These choices determine the positive outcomes that will appear in our lives down the road.
Take advantage of all those smart applications available out there that feature time tracking. They will help you have a clear picture of how much time your daily tasks take. They also make it easier to spot unnecessary or time-consuming activities so you can make improvements in your everyday schedule.
2. Lay out a plan
Time management usually prompts us to break down our tasks and projects into more manageable bits. If you wonder how to increase productivity in the workplace even during the holidays, prioritizing tasks is the key.
Make a list of all the important things you need to do, categorizing them by urgency and importance. Among the most common time management strategies in the workplace is the use of time tracking software. They help you estimate your productivity and meet deadlines easier.
Then, you need to expand this list with all the personal life goals and wishes, creating a calendar that is satisfying BUT not cluttered with obligations alone. Remember, the work-life balance needs discipline as much as it needs fun!
3. Rationalize expectations
You will discover that most of the time you expect too much from yourself. Coming one step closer to work-life balance means lowering your expectations to a healthier level. We all go through days when our personal life takes a toll on our performance. This is perfectly normal – don’t stress over that.
Knowing how much time each task takes and how much you can complete without lowering the quality of your work, will enable you to enjoy your free time more.
This way, you will move from a state of not being good enough to be good at prioritizing and doing the best you can.
4. Leave work at the office (where it belongs)
The importance of time management for employees is undeniable. Having a clear work schedule based on your actual time requirements will make it easier to leave work at the office when you call it a day.
Set realistic boundaries regarding what you will and will not do at home or at the office.
Then there’s the tricky part – communicating these boundaries to your supervisors or partners and family. For example, let your coworkers know that you can work late on certain days but you are off-limits for the rest unless there is a major crisis.
Respectively, you can pick a time when you are at home so you can check your professional phone and emails. Stick to that without exceptions.
5. Work on your flexibility
Still, wondering how to improve work-life balance for your employees? Well, establishing more flexible working hours is becoming increasingly popular among companies that wish to promote work-life balance in the workplace. Always with the aim to increase productivity as a “side effect”.
Work-life balance doesn’t have to be difficult!
Don’t get obsessed! Time is important, but it is not the only component of a balanced life. In the beginning, just make sure you free up time for whatever makes you happy once a day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes of you being lazy without any sense of remorse or guilt.
The answer to the question of how to improve work-life balance is to realize there is no “one size fits all” formula. Nor do you have to be constantly striving to balance everything perfectly.
Sometimes work needs to become a priority over personal matters and, in the end, you will be rewarded for your efforts which is ultimately satisfying on a personal level too!