#TenTips #WorkLife #Balance

As a businesswoman and a mother, I know how challenging it can be to be productive whilst balancing your home life and work tasks, especially when the new year hits, even in the second month – there are forecasts, and meetings, and you have resolutions and targets… Some of you may choose to work, others may need to work; either way if you have family commitments too, life can become a juggling act. This can be manageable at times, and can even be a buzz too, but sooner or later something is bound to fall unless you get good at they balancing… Here are ten top tips to help you get and maintain that all important work-life balance…

  • Be a Smart Phoner: The phone can be ringing all of the time, and this is a sign of success for many businesses. Technological advances and the introduction of smart phones mean that you can pretty much be anywhere and receive calls and emails. This can however have an adverse effect on your private time with friends and family. So ensure you either switch off your phone when you are having dedicated family time, or invest in a personal phone, keeping your contracted Smartphone just for business. Leave the biz phone at home when you are on holiday, with a greeting stating your date of return, encouraging the caller to leave a message.
  • Take Time Out: As a businessperson you will be conscious of taking the work as and when it comes, which can mean a full-on schedule, often with back-to-back appointments or meetings. Be confident that the flow of work will be there for you. Obviously value your clients, but if you compromise too many other areas of your life just to squeeze in a client then it could burn you out, meaning you’ll be little use to yourself, your clients or your family. In order for you to reach full potential in your work, you must relax, and recoup. So take a day off. If you work weekends, then ensure you allocate some ‘me’ time throughout the week, either by setting aside an hour a day or one day per week. Do things you enjoy, including spending time with the children, friends, or simply relaxing on your own by reading a book or soaking in a bubble bath. A good way to achieve ‘me’ time is by paying for, and committing to a new hobby.
  • Prioritise Planning: It is likely that your schedule will be sporadic, especially if you work for yourself. Keep a clear, concise diary so you can plan your days. At the end of each day write a list of things you need to do on the following day, so that you can enjoy your evening with a clear head. Also, do this every Friday or before your designated day off. The key is to complete the list, so ensure it is doable and prioritise the points on it.
  • Eat Enough: Busy schedules can mean skipping meals, making you feel irritable and sluggish, ensure you eat regular healthy snacks and meals throughout the day… I have just stopped writing this to do exactly that! Arrange to meet a friend for lunch once a week, or carry snacks or a pack lunch with you. Try to sit down for a family meal as often as possible; this is good for your mental and physical health, and works wonders for family bonding.
  • Avoid Overlapping: Laptops and mobile devices are so convenient, especially with the help of wireless Internet, meaning much of your work, like replying to emails, organising your diary and studying online, can be done from anywhere. Try to avoid crossing ‘laptop’ time over with recreational, you will not be giving the task full attention, nor does it count as relaxing or quality family time. Make a point of cuddling up with a loved one, or watching a movie with the children without thinking about work, and with your phone and laptop switched off.
  • Limit Work Talk: Work can be all encompassing, and it can easily eat into unsociable hours, but this doesn’t mean that when you do have time to socialise that the conversation must revolve around work. Many of you will have a great passion for your work and the training you do, but remember to talk about various subjects with your friends and family too, as it is important to enjoy other aspects of life and of your relationships.
  • Delegate & Share: If you have work, home, relationships, children, and your own needs to juggle, it may get to the point when you feel that you need help. Don’t be proud: call upon friends and family to spend time with the children while you run some errands. If you are able to allocate the funds, enlist the help of a cleaner once a week, or hire an admin assistant. There are plenty of ways you can delegate responsibilities and tasks, look at where best you need a little helping hand and do so accordingly. It may mean hiring an accountant, or getting a gardener. If you enjoy tasks like gardening yourself, then incorporate them with family time; young children love to be involved in potting plants or safe household chores. If you are doing a mundane task, like cleaning your office space or dealing with admin work, put some of your favourite music on so you can balance the chores with fun. Dance a bit, sing a little, and basically use it as a way of staying in tune with yourself and with the pleasures of life.
  • Brain Drain: So many of you would have experienced mental fatigue as well as physical, as it is so easy to take home people’s problems or stresses depending on your area of work. Learn to leave the emotional aspect of your work at work. If you work from home, it may be more of a challenge to ‘switch off’. Ten minutes of meditation after each meeting, or two minutes after each task can do wonders for your mind and body, realigning you and stopping you focusing on the last patient or client or student or customer, so you can be present and look to the needs of the next. Add this meditation time into your daily schedule and include as part of your diary. For those of you that work in a busy environment, avoid getting caught up in internal politics or gossip, this can be super draining, a waste of time and energy, and more importantly negative and sometimes nasty.
  • Morning Activity: Parents walk your children to school, or dog-owners take your pooch for walkies first thing in the morning. This encourages a routine for those working from home, and helps motivate you to get on with your day upon your return. If you do not have a dog, or a child, then have a refreshing shower, get dressed and walk around the block before your working day, better still do a stint in the gym, or go for a run. By having an activity to start your day other than work, you are really making the most of your time, as well as proving to yourself that work is not the first thing to jump to each morning. There will be days you have early appointments, but try to manage these morning activities a few times a week to achieve that balance and overall productivity. These morning activities also support motivation for homeworkers, an increasing area for modern work, not just parents working from home. Self-employed or contracted staff working in the virtual sphere will also benefit from this tip.
  • Small Shifts: Enjoy including these tips into your life, but don’t feel that big changes need to be made, as it is consistent small tweaks that are often more effective, and will ultimately lead to the perfect work-life balance.

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