Here are some simple rules that will help you to maintain an appropriate distance from your desk during downtime, and make you more productive during office hours.
Just Say No
It’s human nature to try and be as helpful as possible, and refusing a direct request for help can feel seriously uncomfortable. But in attempting to always be accommodating at all costs, you may find that you are helping everyone but yourself, impacting on your own projects and eating into life outside the office at the same time.
Saying “no” helps set clear boundaries, as well as placing value on your own time, whereas being overly accommodating can suggest a lack of confidence, which can actually prove detrimental to your career. Contrary to what you may feel, the majority of people are unlikely to be offended by a polite “I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the capacity right now”, and this reasonable response leaves little room for argument or negotiation. And if all else fails, then bear in mind that “no” is a complete sentence – so stand your ground and reclaim that downtime!
First things first: switch off all your desktop notifications, alarms and pop-ups. Then allocate specific timeslots during your working day to check social media. This is an ideal task to combine with your coffee break, so you’re not eating into productive working time. If you’re a habitual texter or IM addict, save time and thumb-power by doing things the old-fashioned way and picking up the phone. Following these simple suggestions will increase your efficiency… and get you away from your desk in time to enjoy a more civilised evening meal after all!
Use Tech To Work Smarter
If you want to achieve a good work-life balance, it is all about working smarter, not harder. This is where technology comes into play. Take a look at this app as a good example. Such a solution will ensure that you are alerted to any of losses and glitches so you can deal with them immediately, ensuring they don’t turn into a bigger problem, meaning you are stuck in the office day and night. Furthermore, you can find ways to boost your efficiency in the process. Tools like this make a huge difference.
Schedule Your Free Time
This is where your organizational skills come into use! It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re already staring at a calendar bursting at the seams with appointments, but achieving balance between your personal and work life starts with your diary. By actively blocking out time to spend on sports, family activities or just relaxing with a few friends over dinner, you are far likelier to stick to your commitments than a vague “I’ll fit it in when I have time” plan – which can easily become pushed back indefinitely while working life gets in the way.
Use peer pressure to your advantage by looping friends and family into your schedule. This only increases the likelihood of you keeping your appointments; it becomes much harder to cancel those drinks with friends or date night dinner if you know that others have tailored their plans to accommodate yours. Setting up a joint Google Calendar with your partner, social group or sports team will ensure that everyone can see what’s on the slate for the month ahead, and can schedule their time accordingly. Colour code business and social events for added visual impact. Make plans and stick to them!
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