By Melanie Astbury, HR Manager, officekitten.co.uk
We’ve all said it, ‘there are never enough hours in the day’. Weeks go past in a blur and ‘work-life balance’ sounds like a myth.
But working hours on end does not always mean working productively. All work and no play takes its toll, often making us tired, tense, stressed and – above all – less able to arrive at logical and effective money-making decisions.
So, with that in mind, here are a few tips I’ve learned about maintaining that much-desired balance in and out of work:
Having the right employees on board will have an immediate impact on time, as your workload will lighten if it is distributed evenly and consistently among a trusted team.
As a manager, delegation is key. Don’t be afraid to spread the workload even if this means initially taking time to train team members – it will be worth it in the long run.
Employing talented staff who are able to do the job in question to a higher standard than you has two benefits. First, you know the job will be done effectively, allowing you to play to your strengths. Second, you will go home at the end of the day with fewer worries about things you don’t have time to fix yourself.
Don’t be a busy fool.
This goes for all members of staff, don’t fall into the mindset that you’re only grafting if you’re working day and night. Society is becoming increasingly competitive in the work place, with people bragging that they work harder or are more stressed than others. This is a fallacy and not a way to live. You’re not expected to be productive for 24 hours of the day. Only you know your body, so be aware of how you work best and most effectively and try and stick to this.
Stress is pointless. It works you into a state of panic and prevents you from making clear decisions.
The best way to keep stress at bay is to prepare. Make your to-do list manageable, taking one item at a time and completing it before starting the next, so as not to become overwhelmed. I’ve found there’s real satisfaction in progress – being able to race through a list of step-by-step bitesize jobs is much easier than working out how you’re going to climb a cliff-face of a challenge.
Don’t feel you have to stick to the original plan.
Priorities change, and there’s nothing wrong with improvising to make sure that opportunities aren’t missed. This means we have to be agile and open to revising plans.
To help with this, our senior team has a catch up every morning at the same time. This is the perfect opportunity for us to update each other on the previous day’s events and plan the next as a team. It’s not a lot of time, but it means we go through the day on the same page and everyone is aware of any issues that need attention.
Get out of the office.
Everyone knows the importance of exercise, but simply getting away from your desk should be a priority too – remember there’s a world outside. When you’re in the middle of a project it’s easy to lose track of the hours and end the day without getting up from your desk.
Don’t run yourself into the ground – even when things get busy, it’s really important to take five minutes in the fresh air and away from your workload.
Working from home can also be important, with a change of scenery helping spur your thought process and improving concentration with fewer distractions around from colleagues. Try for two days a week out of the office, leaving your team to get on with the work you’ve delegated to them.
Melanie Astbury is the HR Manager of officekitten.co.uk, supplier of office stationery and office supplies.