The 24-hour Day – 6 Tips for Maintaining Work / Life Balance When You Are Always On
A few decades ago, Dolly Parton wrote a famous song about the challenges of working 9 to 5. Little did she know what was coming! In today’s world of smart phones, texts and instant messaging apps, it seems like we are always connected to the workplace. 24/7 is the new normal, and for many of us, staying connected is part of the job description. Workin’ 9 to 5? If only!
But there are some things we can all do to maintain a better balance in a day that never ends. It takes a little planning and commitment, but you’ll improve both your work life and your home life if you follow these guidelines:
- Schedule your day and, as much as possible, keep to the schedule. A prioritized “to do” list will help. If a new “priority” is introduced, spend a few minutes assessing the effort needed, the corresponding timeframe and then work it into your schedule. Unless it is an emergency, don’t let it disrupt your schedule.
- Avoid multi-tasking – focus on completing one task or project and move on to the next. In the long run, the final product will be of better quality (100% focus) and you will accomplish just as much. Research out of Stanford University and elsewhere shows that multi-tasking is less productive than doing one thing at a time.
- Allow for down time – work for 50 focused minutes and then give yourself 10 minutes to play. This is the time for checking Facebook, Pinterest and responding to personal emails, texts, etc. This strategy is applicable to both the home and office. Remember, the goal is balance. You don’t have to be on the go, every second of the day.
- If you have work that needs to be done outside of work hours, schedule time for it and stick to the schedule. If you need to work in the evening, or on a weekend, set aside a block of time to get your work done and when you have completed your work, or the time is up, wrap it up.
- Don’t let your devices intrude more than you need to. Don’t bring your phone or tablet to the table or to bed with you. If you do, it should be the exception and not the rule. In the long run, you will sleep better and stay more connected to family.
- Don’t be an enabler – if your kid forgets their lunch or misses the bus, let them know that they have one free pass and then help them solve their problem. Any more than that, and they should have to come up with a solution themselves. The same applies to the office – you should be willing and ready to help your colleagues, but you shouldn’t be the solution for every challenge your colleagues might face.
Balancing your career and family so that you can manage both successfully is a challenge and hopefully using some of the tips outlined above will make it a little easier!
MKP communications inc. is a New York City based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, combined with flawless execution for financial services clients.