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Is life getting on top of you? Then it’s time to take a step back and put some time into your life… Posted on October 9, 2018
We have a reputation in Australia for being laidback and carefree, but when it comes to hard work our ingrained preference is for a culture of long hours. This attitude is slowly changing thanks to progressive employers, eager to attract and retain skilled employees in the ‘war of talent’, policies and practices that address work-life balance are beginning to make their mark.
So how can you break the stress-cycle and get your life back?
1. Stop colouring-in the title page
Swamped by work which is impossible to get through? Accept that you cannot do it all and choices need to be made.
Ask yourself ‘Am I colouring in the title pages or completing the actual assignment?’
To keep yourself motivated, it’s important to focus on positive outcomes as much as possible. Action is a natural enemy of procrastination, so consider visualising the extra time you’ll be able to spend with your family to help you reach maximum efficiency daily.
80% of all your tasks bring you 20% of the results. So, focus on competing the 20% of the tasks which will produce 80% of your results. If the purpose isn’t clear there is a high chance you are wasting time.
2. Have a reason to leave
Just as easy as it is to expand into a higher income, it can be easy for work to morph into your available hours. If you are constantly amazed by how late it is when you leave the office, it may be that you have no solid plans for after hours.
Having somewhere else to be sharpens your efficiency and helps you pull the plug on work. It’s harder to do just one more thing when you’re meeting a friend for dinner, have to feed the animals before dark, coach a football team,etc.
3. Say ‘no’ and ‘not now’
Do you accept every task you’re given, including the ones that push your workload over the cliff? Managers may not know what’s on your plate unless they are told. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a new deadline or delegate tasks to others.
4. Ask for help
If you are playing the control freak or the best person for the job card you’re doing too much. Contrary to what we believe, the office won’t fall apart if you step away. If you have already done enough then step away and let someone else do it their way while you take a break. Letting go and learning to delegate will help you work smarter not harder.
5. De-clutter your diary
How much ‘white space’ is in your diary? Block out regular chunks of time for no fixed purpose and experience the gift of breathing space. Estimate the time it will take to get from A to B, build in a buffer or move between commitments. Learn how to use your time more efficiently both at work and home. Poor time management can result in lost hours which contributes to stress levels.
6. Switch channels
If you have spent all day focussing mentally, de-distress by ‘switching the channel’. If you don’t change the channel, it’s harder to switch off, which leads to higher stress and burnout. We may be a laid-back nation but as workers, we are working longer and longer hours. Many of us are ‘addicted to work’ and failing to separate our working life from our family life.
Is this you?
Ideally the minute you leave the office should be the minute you leave your work life behind. For many this isn’t possible, but be sure to give you plenty of ‘unplugged’ time, which means no laptops, emails or phones.
7. Get out of your own way
It’s human nature to want to blame other people for the imbalance in our lives but are you holding yourself back? Do you think you’re not good enough? Are you on a quest for perfection? Do you avoid delegation in certain areas of your life due to ‘nobody does this as well as I do’ syndrome?
Because your best ally, instead of your own worst enemy.
8. Lock in a holiday
Open up your 2012 diary. What are you doing September/November?
Ask for time off when you get back to work. Open a new bank account and setup a regular transfer. Book a holiday.
Most people fail to take holidays because they ‘don’t have time’ or ‘can’t afford it’. Those that get away have usually planned in advance. If you delay thinking about a holiday to later in the year, there won’t be a spare weekend left, work commitments won’t be movable and there will be no savings.
Most of us are allowed four weeks or more leave a year but rarely take it. Remember it is there to provide you with some much needed R&R.
If you want things to be different, become the architect of your own lifestyle.
9. Look after your health
Constant exposure to stress can lead to exhaustion and burnout. Your health should always be your number one priority. If you’re not in top shape both mentally and physically, it will affect all aspects of your life.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of poor health. To keep the effects of stress to a minimum, make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise at least 3 times a week.
If you would like to learn more about a healthy work life balance, click here to email Troy Marchant, our Business Development Partner who can discuss this topic further.