If you find yourself always chasing the clock, then you’re not alone. In fact, 40% of people are guilty of still being on their laptop or desktop computer after 10pm, with only 74% of work being done during the normal working hours. That leaves more than a quarter (26%) of work being done at the weekend.
Finding the right balance is not always that easy. How can you devote time to yourself without risking your livelihood? How can you make sure you’re still meeting your deadlines without always feeling so stressed out? Is it actually possible to succeed in one aspect of your life without sacrificing the other?
Here are some useful tips that can hopefully help you get the balancing act right.
Adopt a results-based schedule
Instead of working tirelessly, focus on the results you want to achieve every day. To do this, list down all the work tasks that you want to complete on that day. After listing all your tasks, do them in order of priority
- Urgent and important
- Urgent but not that important
- Important but not that urgent
- Not urgent nor important but it needs to be done
Don’t squeeze everything into one day, instead, plan them out over the next few days. If you can schedule your entire week, this will make life easier. If you’re doing a big project, break it down into micro tasks or smaller steps so you can tick off what you’ve completed.
If you work in a 9 to 5 job, make sure that you’re only starting tasks that you can realistically finish by the end of the workday. This will ensure you won’t have to spend more time in the office than you have to.
Learn to you control your own time and don’t overload your to-do list with tasks that will obviously take a big chunk of your day, leaving you with no time for your personal stuff. Many people who work flex hours are prone to overworking because nobody is really there to tell them it’s happy hour already or that they need to leave the office.
Give yourself a break
When was the last time you actually took a break? Many people are guilty of spending so many hours hunched at their desks without getting up, thinking they’ll complete more tasks if they work non-stop. While it’s true that you’re spending more hours working, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re more productive.
According to science, taking a break to grab some coffee can boost your productivity. Taking micro breaks throughout the day can help you recharge and refocus, and at the same time lower your stress levels.
It’s also helpful to use your vacation days and actually take a vacation. You don’t need to spend much if money is an issue. All you need is to give yourself some breathing time, which can help you refresh your mind and body.
Use time-saving techniques
While you can’t increase the number of hours in a day, there is an alternative so you won’t have to overwork yourself endlessly. What many people don’t realize is that most of the tasks that eat up so many hours can be streamlined and made simpler. Because of technology, there are now many solutions that can be applied to save time and increase productivity.
Learn how to automate
Time-consuming tasks, such as sorting customer inquiries from spam emails, can now be made more efficient by using automation.
You can now install an automated messaging service that can provide answers to FAQs and sort through the important messages. This is just one example of business process automation which removes the need for manual work because the tasks can be done quicker and easier with just a few clicks.
If you’re running a business, you can automate some of your processes to cut costs, boost productivity, and most importantly, save time. Other tasks that can be automated include invoicing, financial reporting, social media posting, customer service, email marketing, and creating business reports.
Outsource clerical or specialized tasks
If you have too much on your plate, the answer is not to extend your hours. Instead, why not consider expanding your team? You could either hire a new recruit or work with an outsource agency to help alleviate the burden. There are two types of tasks that are easy to outsource:
- Secretarial tasks, such as bookkeeping, sorting emails, setting up appointments
- Tasks that can be done faster if performed by a specialist, such as website development, graphic design, email marketing
Instead of trying to fit everything into your schedule, an extra set of hands could help considerably. If you don’t have the budget to hire locally, you could consider hiring someone remotely. There are numerous online job platforms where you can find freelancers from all around the world, and at a reasonable cost.
Calendar your personal time
How many times have you complained that you don’t have time to go to the gym, book a massage, or get a proper haircut? If your schedule is filled with back to back meetings, presentations, and reports, then it’ll be difficult to find time for yourself. Once you’re swamped with work, it can be easy to lose track of time.
Try calendaring your personal time and adhere to this schedule. Just as you would schedule a business meeting, plot down times for dinner with friends, exercise classes, salon appointments, movie time with your kids, and other personal activities.
Striking the balance
There’s nothing wrong with striving to have a successful career. For most people, this is what gives them a sense of pride and satisfaction. However, in doing so, you shouldn’t neglect your personal life, your health, or your family.