We all love spending time with friends and family, enjoying our home comforts, and having fun. So why is maintaining a good work-life balance so difficult?
Whatever your job, chances are you find it hard to switch off. Today, we work longer hours, at weekends, at home and on the move. The office is only ever a click away via smartphones and the Internet. We're pre-programmed to think this is the price of success, but it doesn't have to be. Wave goodbye to guiltily checking your emails on a date, or getting home when your children are already in bed - this is your route to winning on every level.
1. Get enough sleep
It sounds simple, but so many of us don't prioritise getting enough sleep. When you're sleep deprived, research shows that you make the wrong calls, focus on the wrong tasks and fall into the trap of working longer but less efficiently.
2. Tap into efficiency boosters
'Efficiency boosters' inspire and equip you to increase your efficiency exponentially. The relationship between input and output is by no means linear; it's about working smarter not harder. Boosters to consider employing include meditating for at least 12 minutes every day, and ensuring you have a sparky team of people around you. Make sure you spend enough time with your team to collaborate on initiatives.
3. Find new ways of doing old things
You could hold meetings while also doing something else beneficial and balancing, for example going for a walk, cycle ride or jog.
4. Revolutionise your to do list
Instead of watching your to do list grow throughout the day, limit it to just a number of tasks. When you've completed those tasks, take the rest of the day off or do something non-essential at work that you enjoy.
5. Avoid time and energy wasters
There are some people and some tasks that fall into the category of time and energy thieves. They distract you, drain you and dilute your focus. The good news is that they are usually easy to spot; the bad news, they can be incredibly hard to avoid! The key is to keep reminding yourself of your focus, and tackle the essential tasks of the day first.
6. Get your email habit in check
Don't be a slave to your emails - answering emails may feel productive with the quick win of watching unread emails reduce giving the impression of efficiency. But, they are distracting you from the important tasks. Before you open your emails in the morning, at least make a start on the big stuff you need to tackle that day.
7. Cut out unnecessary meetings
Do you have a meeting problem? Some people are sitting through eight hours of meetings a day; some are having meetings to prepare for meetings. To get things done and save time try cutting down the number of meetings you're having - give it a go for a week and see what happens. Good things to remember include that not all issues deserve an hour; there doesn't need to be a default length. You could also try doing meetings without chairs, there is no doubt they will be quicker!
7. Don't prevaricate
When there is a tough decision to be made, don't hang around - gather the information you need and make tough decisions quickly.
8. Identify your inefficiencies
Write down all the things you do that waste time without adding to your performance or happiness. And then, try to limit them.
9. Get your mindset right
As with most things, if you have the right mindset you can achieve the things you want. Re-programme yourself to dedicate your thinking to achieving balance. Appreciate all the things that go well in a day and develop your sense of self-worth from more than just your work.
10. Tactics for when the road gets rough
We all face tough situations and the key to how you emerge from the other side comes down to having the right attitude. Every set back is a new opportunity to learn something.
This post has been inspired by the book I co-authored with Jordan Milne, Winning without Losing, which has just been named a 2014 Management Book of the Year by the Chartered Management Institute.