Five years ago, I made a conscious decision to reclaim my health and my life, and with some simple changes to your day, you can do it too.
Work-life balance – it’s a buzz phrase we hear all over social media these days. It encompasses everything from equal time between our work and personal lives to finding time during the day to step away from your desk to stretch and move your body.
I started my career with TrainingPros over a decade ago. I stepped into a role that was not only entirely new for me but also as a first-time contractor. I then tacked on homeschooling my then 6-year-old daughter and spent many nights and weekends helping my husband open a new restaurant. My life was suddenly chaotic and stressful at its best.
As grateful as I was for all we had going on, I felt like I was drowning most days. My main focus was mastering my new job, which translated into long hours sitting stationary at my desk.
It did not take long for my health to suffer. My lack of work-life balance landed me on the doorstep of obesity, anxiety, and frustration.
I believed I would be rewarded for my focus and drive at work, and all these years later, I am happy to say it worked out. However, the dangerous trade-off with my health was not a necessary risk I needed to take.
Over the years, I have learned a lot, specifically that it only takes changing what you do a few minutes of each day to balance your life, succeed at your job, be your best self for you and for those who depend on you, and most importantly, stay healthy.
With that goal in mind, here are five simple ways you can get organized so you can be productive while still maintaining an optimal work-life balance:
Establish a morning routine. Whether you realize it or not, we all have some degree of a morning routine. For some, it can be as simple as washing your face and drinking coffee. It may be more involved for others, such as getting in an entire workout before you hit the shower and kick-off your day.
The critical thing to remember is there are no rules. What the perfect morning looks like is personal. Your only goal is to be consistent. Make a plan and stick to it.
Putting pen to paper and designing your ideal morning is an easy way to visualize a successful start to your day. Once you have your new routine defined, start immediately and do not allow anything to get in your way.
Maintain your calendar. A well-maintained calendar is a priceless tool for maximizing time management.
- Block time off to get higher priority, time-intensive tasks, and projects accomplished.
- Share your calendar with co-workers to help minimize spontaneous phone calls when you are focused on a task.
- At the end of each day, review your calendar for the next day.
Effectively communicate. Take a moment to determine what level of communication is needed to accomplish each item on your to-do list efficiently. Ask yourself, can I complete this task in no more than three email exchanges? If not, pick up the phone.
When more people are working remotely than ever before, emails and text messages have become the go-to method of communication for many. Lost is the art of picking up the phone, having a conversation, and crossing the task off your list.
That said, if you are in a support role that often requires research for you to resolve your team member’s questions or needs, consider creating a policy of questions being emailed to you first. Giving yourself the necessary time for due diligence before you talk to a co-worker can often reduce stress and anxiety.
Get moving. A quick Google search will serve up article after article that discusses the increased risk of heart disease caused by sitting for prolonged periods. According to the experts, sitting is the modern-day equivalent of heart disease.
Therefore, how you treat your body while you are working is crucial for maintaining good health.
- Build-in 5 or 10-minute breaks every hour – get up from your desk and move around.
- Invest in a stand-up desk that allows you to rotate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
- Walk around or at very least stand-up when on conference calls.
- Get outside for a quick walk during lunch.
- Use reminder apps such as The Work Break Timer or fitness trackers like FitBit or Apple Watch to help remind you to take breaks throughout the day. Log these small breaks on your calendar, so your teammates don’t derail you with a phone call just as you are about to leave your desk.
Remember, your health does not take care of itself while you are working. Of course, you can create pockets of time for it to be on autopilot, but that takes proper planning, organization, and, most importantly, consistency.
In what ways do you maintain your work-life balance? Share your thoughts; I would love to hear your story!