The Best Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance (Time Management Tips)
Work-life balance isn’t an elusive dream for the select few. It doesn’t happen overnight, but there are things you can do to promote this in your life. Read on to discover great time management hacks that’ll help you regain work-life balance.
11 Time Management Tips to Promote Work-Life Balance
1. Stick to Your Work Hours
Even if your work offers some flexibility, set your work hours and stick to it. Having clearly communicated work hours makes it easier to set boundaries between your life and work.
Otherwise, it’s easier for co-workers to take your personal life for granted and assume that you’re always available. At the same time, setting clear work hours will motivate you to focus on tasks and get them done within specific timeframes.
Tip: Keep your supervisors and colleagues updated. If you’re anticipating any schedule changes or upcoming vacation time, make sure to alert your team ahead of time so that they can prepare.
2. Target Excellence (Not Perfection)
If you spent more time thinking about tasks rather than doing them, then you may have a perfection problem. When you’re young and life is less demanding, this isn’t too problematic.
It isn’t uncommon for employees to receive more responsibilities as they progress in their careers. Unfortunately, no matter how long the to-do list, you still only get 24 hours in each day.
That’s why it’s important to make a shift from perfection to excellence. Excellence requires grit, effort, and planning—but it’s attainable.
More importantly, you get the job done when you aim for excellence. Perfection is usually unrealistic and out of reach.
3. Prioritize in Work and Play
If you want to make the most out of your time, you need to identify your priorities in work and play. Ideally, you should be spending most of your time on your top priorities or goals.
Try to cut out tasks or activities that eat up time, but don’t contribute to your goals. Figuring out your priorities in work may require a proper sit-down with your manager.
Your work priorities should be in line with the company’s expectations. That way, there won’t be any conflicts when you’re unavailable because you are focusing on a specific task.
When it comes to life priorities, try to identify people or hobbies that are important to you. Make sure you carve out some dedicated time for these people and activities.
Establishing priorities will help you manage your workload. When your time is already dedicated to certain tasks or people, it makes it easier to say no or not right now.
4. Stay Organized
It isn’t uncommon for professionals to juggle multiple responsibilities. If you’re lucky, you’re also given some level of autonomy to figure out how to get the job done.
If you want to achieve a healthy work-life balance, you have to make the most of your time. Staying organized can help you with this.
Here are some organizational tips that will help you maximize your time:
- Use a calendar. Write down important dates and deadlines.
- Plan your week. Set aside some time during the weekend to set the goals you have for the week.
- Factor in delays. Assume that there will be delays and plan for contingencies ahead of time.
- Make a list every morning. Start your workday by making a to-do list. List tasks in order of priority.
- Maximize technology. Almost any smartphone can run an electronic calendar or other organization apps. It’s almost like having a secretary in your pocket!
Remember, you’re more likely to forget things if you don’t jot them down somewhere. So always err on the side of caution and make a habit of keeping your professional life organized.
5. Set Clear Objectives for Team Projects
It’s usually easier to stay on top of tasks when you’re working alone. Things can get more complicated when you’re working with others.
Team projects normally involve multiple meetings. When meetings aren’t planned out properly, they can be a time drain.
So make sure to set an agenda for each meeting. It also helps if you set a time limit for each meeting.
Apart from well-planned meetings, it also helps if you set tasks and deadlines for the project. That way, your team members will know what’s expected of them and when they need to meet their deliverables.
Tip: Explore project management applications. These applications can help you track the progress of your team.
6. Provide Timely (Not Instant) Response
In this digital age, we’re bombarded with all sorts of messages from different applications—email, messaging apps, phone calls, and social media. Don’t feel like you have to respond to every email or instant message right away.
Unless you’re dealing with a time-sensitive issue, it’s usually reasonable to respond to a message in a few hours within a workday. If you’re constantly responding to instant messages or emails, you’re probably unable to focus on anything else.
Tip: If you’re trying to focus on a critical task, try turning off your laptop or smartphone notifications for a while.
7. Build a Support System
Having a support system at work (and in life) is a great resource. A good support system can serve as a buffer against stressors. Studies show that people who have a good support system are more resilient against stress.
Sometimes, life can get overwhelming and you never know when you’ll need a helping hand. Having a support system means that you can rely on people to have your back (or even cover for you) when unexpected conflicts pop up. Even if you try to stay organized, sometimes there are things you can’t predict.
8. Disconnect For Real
When you’re not clocked in, try to unplug and disconnect for real. Even if you don’t respond to work-related messages, knowing that they’re there can linger and compromise the quality of your personal time.
So don’t feel guilty if you completely tune work out during your free time or vacation days. Giving your boss and co-workers unlimited access to you can have a negative impact on your mental health and may lead to burnout.
If you’re a bonafide workaholic, this may seem foreign to you at first. Remember, giving yourself time to rest and recharge can renew your motivation for work.
9. Manage Your Energy
You can have all the time in the world, but if your energy levels are low, you probably won’t get a lot done. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize your physical health and manage your energy stores.
Here are a few lifestyle choices that can have a positive impact on your energy levels:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Get enough sleep.
- Manage stress.
- Limit alcohol intake.
It’s also helpful to equip yourself with energy-boosting techniques you can squeeze in during the workday. For example, try learning breathing exercises or work-friendly yoga poses.
10. Introduce Changes Gradually
Work-life balance doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not something that you can turn on or off. To truly achieve work-life balance, you need to make good choices every day.
If work-life balance is new to you, try to introduce changes gradually and change one habit at a time. Make sure the new habit sticks before moving on to the next one. That way, the changes you make are more sustainable.
Ask yourself, what’s one change you can make today to improve your work-life balance? Maybe it’s turning off notifications when you’re at home or clocking out on time.
Whatever change you make, no matter how little or big, try to stick with it for a week or so. Soon, you won’t even notice it.
11. Choose Your Workplace
Work-life balance can be challenging if you work for a company that doesn’t value it. There’s only so much you can do to manage work stressors.
Sometimes, the demands at work can be unreasonable. While this may be a seasonal issue in some workplaces, toxic work environments also exist.
So if work-life balance is something you truly value, find a company that values it as well. That way, you won’t have to feel guilty about setting boundaries.
The lines between work and life are blurrier than ever. It takes more effort to maintain work-life balance, but it’s definitely worth it.