Every August, we are reminded of the fact that summer is waning as we hold on to the last beach days and carefree activities. Those with families prepare to go back to school and return to regular working hours. But regardless of whether you have a family, use the changing season to re-create work/life balance. Implementing a daily routine is beneficial to your productivity both at home and in the office.
Schedule in Advance
Having a clear and organized view of what’s coming up will help you both professionally and personally. Use a calendar to schedule high-priority events in advance. Pro tip – create a shared calendar so that all family members can see and access regularly. This keeps you one step ahead, and prevents any scheduling conflicts that could arise. Whether it’s your child’s soccer game or an important work meeting, you can coordinate and plan accordingly, if for instance, you have to work overtime. Keeping a calendar to schedule in advance reduces stress and prevents circumstances where you may have a work and family activity overlap.
Know Your Busy Season
Every industry has its ebbs and flows where a season requires more time, commitment and concentration. For example, tax season is an extremely demanding time for accountants, just as educators feel that added pressure during back to school season and at the end of the school semester. Learn to familiarize yourself with your specific job requirements and know when your undivided attention will be necessary during the year. When your work schedule is lighter, you can allot more personal time and attention for family functions, vacations, long weekends, etc. During busy seasons, ask for extra help and take the easy route at home. This could mean using a meal service for the month to have healthy meals ready to eat, or hiring a housecleaner.
Take Advantage of Flexible Work Options
Some jobs offer their employees flexible work schedules and work remote options. In today’s job market, not only is this becoming a major competitive edge for prospective employees (particularly Millennials) but it also is a significant contributor to higher employee retention rates. In fact, a Flex Jobs survey revealed that 82 percent of respondents would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. As we strive to maintain a work/life balance, flexible schedules can be paramount in making that possible. Job flexibility can take many forms, such as coming into the office earlier or staying later depending on your personal commitments, or working remotely to save time and the headache of commuting. According to a new Gallup survey, 37 percent of workers telecommute at least some of the time, and that figure is growing. If you can access your work online via cloud space, you’re in a great position to work remotely from time to time when needed. No single person’s schedule is the same and what may work for one person is not the best solution for another.
Nurture with Self Care
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times when balancing your job and personal responsibilities. However, it’s hard to give others that continuous energy and dedication when you feel personally depleted. That’s why it is crucial to remember that achieving a healthy work/life balance also includes the responsibility of making time for YOU. Give yourself time for self care activities that fill you with energy and joy. A few ideas: bonding with your friends or partner, working out or doing a fitness class you enjoy, reading a new book, getting a massage, starting a hobby you have always desired, etc. If your workplace has a wellness program, take advantage! Breaking a sweat in the middle of the workday with your friendly coworkers could be the perfect stress buster that you need.
Develop a Daily Routine
Having a daily routine may sound superfluous but it is instrumental in helping us to cope with change, form new healthy habits, and reduce stress levels. Think about any point of transition in your life and how a lack of structure (even though initially pleasing) over time leads to feelings of anxiety, stress and mental disarray. A routine can be a solid anchor and provides a sense of comfort and control, no matter what may happen during your day. For instance, build blocks of time to intentionally focus on your workout, your meals, and your bedtime. It gives you a framework to work around, especially during more chaotic times. It’s no secret that exercise and food directly impacts our mood, but often, time is the greatest obstacle. Time set aside provides more of an incentive to partake and soon enough it will become your new normal. Along these lines, establishing a regular sleep routine is important to improve your sleep/wake cycle, which in turn boosts your productivity.
Any working person knows that any given day is different and that almost always something comes up to keep things well, interesting. But if you can remember to prioritize, plan ahead, intentionally practice self-care and implement a daily routine, you will at least have a roadmap to help you navigate those variable hectic days ahead, and find a healthy working balance.