These days, Americans are putting in extra hours at the office, spending more time on our smart phones, and spending less time with family and friends outside of the workplace. How is it possible to keep up with relentless demands if we aren’t always connected?
Maintaining a 24/7 schedule is never easy. A majority of Americans struggle constantly in finding their perfect work-life balance. Between managing workload, family demands, and a personal life there is little time or effort spent for leisure time.
Personally, I am one that struggles to find a solid balance between working and relaxing. I work full-time at BiggsKofford, co-own a business here in the Springs with my husband who is active duty military, and maintain my household as best as I can. It’s hard to find time to unwind, but I know if I don’t take the time for myself, I won’t have the ability to give 100% to others. I have found that assessing what is critical versus what can wait can be tough, but is necessary in preserving leisure/relaxation time.
With these challenging dynamics in mind, here are some tips for those who want improve that balance and get a life—or keep the one they’ve got—all while continuing to uphold and exceed expectations at the office.
- Plan your week ahead of time. Although this isn’t always possible, it is important to plan activities outside of work ahead of time. When you see a fun lunch appointment on your planner, you are more likely to make the effort to go. Planners are also a great way to see how much time you spend on work and how much you spend on play. For those who tend to enjoy a bit too much leisure, planners are also a great tool to help meet work goals and deadlines.
- Outsource time wasters. Is there a better way to use your time all together? Instead of going to the grocery store, can you order online and have it delivered? Have you considered a laundry, landscaping or house cleaning service? There are numerous local providers available to help ease your workload at home, and give you more time to spend with your family.
- Utilize technology. Disconnecting from the office is tough but could be a potential way to get a fresh prospective on projects. I get some of my best ideas when I disengage from an assignment and sleep on it. Making technology work for you—instead of the other way around—is an excellent way to have control over your schedule. I frequently use my do not disturb setting on my iPhone when I need time to decompress. I always ask myself: is there anything urgent that it can’t be dealt with tomorrow? If the answer is no, I handle it promptly the following day. Maximizing your use of technology based on your needs is a powerful tool.
- Pay attention to your efficiency. Analyzing your productivity at the office is a great way to see where you could be utilizing your time and energy better. Are there moments of standing around the water cooler listening to the latest gossip? Does social media take your attention away from projects and create more stress when impending deadlines are approaching? Moments like this affect our efficiency. It’s never a bad idea to take a break, but use your break times to your advantage. Breaks are an opportunity to take a walk and get some fresh air, or take a moment to rejuvenate and refresh your mind. That time and energy could be spent in more positive ways and if you use your time wisely, you may get to leave the office earlier! There are infinite perks to increased productivity in the workplace.
- Create personal objectives. Having a goal in place is an excellent way to increase productivity, visualize your efficiency and show value to your employer. Once you’ve met those goals be sure to celebrate your success! Hard work deserves to be rewarded. If you construct an elevated objective for yourself, others will take note and raise their own potential. A positive and dynamic work environment generates successful outcomes for all involved. Maintaining a balanced life ensures you are able to work hard with an optimistic and enthusiastic attitude that will no doubt be infectious to those who work alongside you.
We’re all busy. In the end, I know I don’t want to regret a missed opportunity to meet a friend for lunch, or talk to my husband via Skype. Most things can wait until Monday morning (unless it’s busy season here!), but it doesn’t ease the initial discomfort of leaving projects unfinished. Remember in those moments of frustration that you are resilient. Going outside of your comfort zone is difficult and may make you feel weak, but ask yourself, “Will this matter in a week?” If not, then it’s not something to waste your energy stressing about. Think of it this way: the more time you are able to take for yourself means more energy you will have to give to others, and the more happiness you’ll feel. So, what do you have to lose?