Managing a Work/Life Balance
One of the key issues identified this year as being faced by HR, and indeed across most business functions, is managing a work/life balance.
Follow this 10 point plan in order to have more of a balance:
1. Start by identifying your priorities in life. In your work role most people have objectives and KPIs to monitor your own and your team’s performance. Outside work, unless you are a professional sports person or have a Coach, it is unlikely that you monitor your goals and performance in such a structured way.
2. To identify your key priorities in life list everything that is important to you, such as health, family, friends, travel, security, fun, career, freedom.
3. Then rank order the top 5 or 6 key areas in your life and delete any similar or overlapping priorities, such as ‘friends’ may equate to ‘fun’. Often students and graduates find this exercise very difficult as they say they want it all: to study, socialize a lot, travel, start their own company, save some money, progress their career, and that’s when priorities start to conflict. Grouping areas together, such as friends – socializing – playing in a band can help to streamline the list.
4. Score your satisfaction level out of 10 with your top 5 – 6 priorities with 10 being perfect. So if your top personal priority is to get fit and you scored 2/10 you need a plan to get fit!
5. With any priority with a score under 7/10 devise a SMART Action Plan to achieve 10/10. Decide what actions you can take, when, where, and what support you require to ensure these actions occur.
6.Ask yourself what you would like to achieve that you are not doing now, and what the result of doing or not doing this would be, such as not getting home from work in time to see your children go to bed.
7. Then examine all your habits and routines and decide which ones you could change to free up more time for your priorities, for example, getting up half an hour earlier, maximizing your commuting time by car sharing or working/reading on the train.
8. Make technology work for you, rather than your life being governed by it. Use some of the latest apps to remind you of key dates and tasks.
9. When you start to work on your new action plans review them at the beginning and end of each day until your new behaviours become ingrained. Keep focused by asking yourself what’s really important and avoid going off track or reverting to old habits.
10. There have been many recent articles on how many hours people in the UK work, with figures of between 48 – 70 hour weeks being cited, or even 34 extra days a year being worked because employees are not taking lunch breaks. Working through your lunch break or not taking your holidays has been proven to be counter-productive and usually results in you feeling jaded and becoming less efficient. Taking time out at work to plan your time and having time to relax enable you to focus on your priorities, be effective, and check that you are achieving your goals.
Being more aware of your top priorities in life and having a plan to achieve them will allow you to make clearer decisions and trade off between different options and opportunities. This will help to create clarity, reduce stress levels and increase your satisfaction both in and outside work.