Long work hours and highly stressful jobs often lead to disturbed personal lives. Learning to manage your time can enhance your productivity, help focus on overall happiness, and subsequently, avoid health risks caused by stress.
Here are some essential time management tips to help you enjoy work-life balance:
1. Prioritize Your Work
Complete the most important tasks first. When you start your day, identify the top three or four tasks that are high in priority. Spend the first half of your day (or more) in trying to complete them. In some cases, the task may be prolonged for a few days; try to set daily milestones for such tasks.
On completing the crucial tasks in the first half of the day, you will realize that you have spent your work hours fruitfully. You can then spend the rest of the day in closing some of the relatively less important activities. The golden rule of achieving work-life balance is to ensure that each day is spent doing something important.
2. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
As stated by Andrew Wilkinson of MetaLab, “You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful.” Not getting adequate sleep can trigger several physical and mental medical conditions. For an average person, 7 to 8 hours of sleep is sufficient to rest and recover from the day’s toiling. However, this figure may not be applicable to everyone. Observe your sleeping habits and determine how many hours of sleep is sufficient for you, and get rest accordingly.
Phones, laptops and other digital devices are making it easier to stay abreast of the latest developments at work. Not only can these devices affect how fast you fall asleep, but they may also lead to disturbed sleep patterns. Avoid taking your phones or laptop to bed, to enjoy quality sleep.
3. Allocate ‘Me Time’
The former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama said, “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” Practice the habit of spending at least an hour or two in a day to engage in thoughts, activities and conversations that you enjoy.
Make it a regular practice to end your workday at a fixed time. Avoid spending extra hours at the workplace unless it is unavoidable. Letting your work take up your evenings will lead to you spending less time with yourself, and eventually be detrimental to your productivity.
Don’t let professional commitments fill your evenings. Get away from them during weekends, and spend time with your family and friends instead. This can help you get back to the office with a rejuvenated mind, ensuring long-term productivity.
Meditate, exercise and spend some time with yourself. Switch off all your devices; eliminate distractions; appreciate the importance of silence and non-motion. This will help in reducing anxiety and control the habit of constantly rushing. Subsequently, you will also find it easier to concentrate on work and enjoy it.
4. Concentrate Entirely on the Task at Hand
Completing a lengthy to-do list with a disrupted attention span can often lead to an overwhelming feeling of missing deadlines. This is a prevalent situation faced by most professionals working in the modern workplace.
In order to work efficiently and save time, you need to start paying attention to the work at hand. One way to eliminate distractions when working is by tracking self-induced interruptions like surfing the Internet for information that is irrelevant to the task. Instead of using your phone to check social media websites, use it to monitor your distractions.
5. Learn to Say ‘No’
Technology is a boon in most scenarios, and with the advent of the Internet, the ease of doing business has increased. But, at the same time, you will find yourself entangled in office duties even after work hours. This is also making it difficult to switch off from the work-mode.
In the business parlance, it is often said that to be a successful business leader, you should under-promise and over-deliver, and not the other way around. Committing to multiple responsibilities can add to your stress and you may not be able to do justice to all of them.
You might feel disheartened by the fact that you couldn’t complete the work. Making too many unrealistic promises can teach you to multitask and juggle your engagements, but it will be at the cost of the quality of work and productivity.
If you have to decline a request in order to attend to what’s truly important and urgent, do not hesitate to do so. Be prepared to move on to more productive tasks. Learn from the experience to avoid wasting time later on.
6. Combine Similar Tasks on Your To-Do-List
Planning your day before you start taking up tasks can familiarize you with the nature of the work. It will be easier to complete tasks that require similar inputs. Different tasks require different approaches, so it makes sense to categorize projects, rather than switching between two completely unconnected activities. This is because the latter will require you to re-orient your work approach.
For instance, if you were to review project assignments of your team members, you can spend an hour or so to collectively review them. It will be easier to group similar tasks and perform them consecutively.
We get only 24 hours in a day. Yet, some professionals can complete tasks more efficiently while others are forced to compromise on their personal time as they mismanage their hours at work. The above time management tips can help you plan your work schedule on an everyday basis so that you can achieve a healthy work-life balance.