“Work-Life Balance” was one of the most searched for terms on Google last year and it’s easy to understand why. With the rise of technology invading our homes and personal time, it is becoming harder than ever to draw a line in the sand between work time and non-work time.
This is coupled with long work hours, extreme multitasking, and the pressure to work as hard as possible to maintain career trajectory. So how do you make sure your life doesn’t become your work? We have a few strategies that you can implement below!
Block Your Time
According to the bestselling book The One Thing by real estate celebrity Gary Keller, time blocking can be the way to propel yourself to career success. The method is simple: identify what the most important activity you do that directly relates to your job’s success rate and block off time to devote to just that. If you are in the multifamily industry your most important activity may be marketing your property. If you are a staffing professional your most important activity may be finding qualified candidates.
The sweet spot seems to be 25 minute time blocks with 10 minute breaks in between. The main focus of time blocking is to not get distracted by ANYTHING. No answering the phone, no checking email, no answering your co-worker. Find a spot where you can hunker down and let your colleagues know what you are doing. As you complete your time blocks you will know how many blocks a day to dedicate to your activity in order to get results. The point is to get more results in less time by implementing extreme focus.
Put Your Phone to Bed
Most of us are guilty of coming home from a long day at work only to sit on the comfy couch and stare at our phones. This activity has a numbing effect on us and serves to help us leave the stress of the day behind and lose ourselves in the world of the internet.
The problem with this activity is the disconnection it causes between us and the ones we love. Our children and spouses get robbed of their time with us because our faces are in our phone. Even if you live alone, your mind is distracted from fulfilling activities such as reading, working on a hobby, or spending time with friends (in real life).
A way to avoid the phone trap is to literally put it to bed at a certain time. If you have children and get home 3 hours before their bedtime, putting your phone to bed when you walk in the door is best. A drawer or an out-of-sight charging station is a great “bed” for a phone. If your job requires you to be on alert after works hours, you can set a timer to remind you to check your phone after an appropriate amount of time, such as every hour.
Meditation is really an extraordinary practice. The key element to remember here is the word “practice” because it has to be done regularly and over time for it to have an effect on your brain.
The effect it will eventually have is to enable you to step back from stress and emotions and have the superpower to make decisions and take action from a place of neutral observation.
Start with sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing for 3 minutes a day. Aim to work up to 10 minutes a day of sitting in purposeful silence with the goal of gently turning away from any thoughts or emotions that comes into your mind as you meditate.
In addition, during your day as your transition from task to task, try to have a moment where you come back briefly to that place of observation and refocus on what you are about to do. This mindfulness will not only increase your effectiveness, but it will also serve you when work time is done and you transition into personal time.
Achieving work-life balance is at the top of most working people’s list of priorities and with the above steps you can begin to achieve better relationships at work, home, and with yourself.