Put these tips to practice to get more done, be happier at work, and spend more time with loved ones.
If achieving “greater work-life balance” is one of your resolutions for the New Year, you’re not alone. A 2013 iVillage survey found that of 1,500 women polled online, 89 percent defined career success as the “flexibility to balance life and work.” Here are six practical tips to help you improve your work-life balance in the New Year.
Clean out your inbox before work.
The more productive you are at work, the easier it will be to leave the office at a decent hour and enjoy some quality time with your friends and family. Use your smartphone to eliminate spam and organize your inbox of work emails before you get to the office. Whether you do this while waiting in line for your morning coffee or sitting on the train, you can clear out a lot of unnecessary emails and start setting your game plan for the day before you sit down at your desk.
Track your time online.
Does time seem to fly by but your to-do list doesn’t get any shorter? There are a number of free apps such as Izepto and Toggl you can download to your smart device or PC to track your activities and identify where you’re losing focus. Track your activities for at least one week before you decide how to alter your workflow.
Prioritize your activities and set expectations.
Consider which activities are most important to you. This could include getting home in time to eat dinner with your loved ones or tuck your children into bed, or using your lunch hour to work out at a local gym. Identify the time frame you need to be ‘off the grid’ and communicate these expectations to your team. For instance, you may make yourself unavailable from 6:00-8:00 p.m. every evening, but will jump back online and respond to urgent requests before the next morning.
Delegate the rubber balls.
Consider each priority in your life to be a ball that you’re juggling; some of these balls are made of glass, and some are rubber. When you’re juggling too many priorities, chances are that you’ll end up dropping one along the way. The key is to determine which balls will shatter if they are dropped, and which will bounce back. Consider delegating some of the “rubber” balls to others. Even if a mistake is made, you know it’s something that can be recovered from.
Between conferencing software like Skype and iMeet, and document-sharing services like iCloud and Dropbox, the ability to work and perform well outside of the workplace is easier than ever before. Consider negotiating a more flexible work schedule that allows you to work remotely a day or more each week. This option is especially beneficial for those who have long commutes to work.
Still deciding upon your goals for the year? Check out this list of additional career resolutions for the New Year.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.