The Art of Time Management for Better Work-Life Balance
Most, if not all, professionals are constantly on the lookout for a healthy work-life balance. This can have different meanings for different people. For some, work-life balance means having flexible working hours, while others may prefer more vacation time for family or personal wellness. It is important to find a balance point that works well for you. Mastering a good work-life balance can be just as important as sharpening your technical skills.
Achieving work-life balance has become more challenging in this digital age. Millennials are the most tech-savvy and digitally connected segment in the entire workforce, but they still want more personal time. According to a 2016 study by Deloitte, aside from salary, work-life balance is the most important factor millennials consider when it comes to their careers.
Another research revealed similar results. In a survey done by Ernst & Young between November 2014 and January 2015 among full-time professionals in eight countries, one-third of survey respondents said managing work-life balance has become more difficult. Almost half (46%) of managers spend more than 40 hours per week at work. Also, four in 10 participants said their work hours have increased in the last five years.
When it comes to the top reasons people leave their jobs, they cited minimal salary growth, lack of opportunities for career advancement, too many hours of overtime, a work environment that doesn’t promote teamwork, and a supervisor who doesn’t allow a flexible work schedule. Developing your interpersonal skills can help you build strong relationships and discuss your personal needs with your team members and management.
Several factors affect work-life balance. One of these is time management or the way we use our time at work. How do you manage time for better work-life balance? Here are several tips to consider:
#1 – Have a plan
Start each day with a plan for how you will spend your work hours. Create a list of items that need to be done and determine the number of minutes or hours you need to finish each task. You can use pen and paper or an app to keep everything organized. You can also do this before going to bed if you’re always rushing to the door every morning.
#2 – Minimize distractions
There are so many sources of interruptions at work, from social media notifications and incoming emails to small talk from colleagues and white noise. Distractions affect productivity and focus. Identify what distracts you at work and make a goal to avoid it. Turn off notifications from your social media accounts, for instance. Some people think they may miss out on something important if they ignore interruptions, but bear in mind that in most cases, it will still be there until your task is finished.
#3 – Delegate when possible
Manage your time well by delegating tasks to team members or other colleagues. It may be difficult if you think that you can do it right the first time if you’re the one who will handle it, but delegating tasks will allow you to focus on more important or urgent tasks, and can boost employee morale. Read this great article on management skills.
#4 – Take breaks
No matter how long your to-do list is, don’t forget to breathe and take a break every few hours. Eat your meals on time and make time to go to the restroom. Otherwise, you may feel mentally exhausted and overwhelmed. Even just a few minutes of mental breaks throughout the day can make a difference.
#5 – Avoid Excessive Overtime
Excessive overtime hours don’t necessarily mean that you are working harder than expected. It can also be poor time management throughout your day. You might also be setting bad examples to your colleagues. Office politics is a reality everyone has to face in a work environment. Usually, the key is to work smarter, not harder. So leave the office on time, relax and spend time with family or friends.
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