Earlier this week, I overheard an interesting conversation about the “new 40 hour work week.” It made me think about the extremely challenging business of managing a demanding work and personal life. How can you successfully juggle a career and a family? Where should you place your priorities? How can you stay sane, productive and happy?
I find the answer to be a simple one, as long as you have the discipline to enforce it. Live in the moment and focus your actions on the tasks related to where you are. What does that mean? Full time employment is typically defined as 35-40 hours a week and in most salaried positions you are looking at 50+ hours a week. You have more than enough time to complete work tasks while in the office and possibly find efficiencies that will allow you to focus on family life while at home.
This is sometimes harder to accomplish than it looks. Here are 3 tips to help you achieve this feat:
- Stay off distracting websites – During work hours stay off social, news and shopping sites. There are programs available you can install that will block sites you specify. A simple search for website blockers will provide you with ample programs to choose from. These can be gems for productivity and that means you can leave on time!
- Know what you are not working on and why – The theory of Inbox 0 was a hard concept for me to embrace, but once I did my life changed. Instead of letting emails pile up attended and unaccounted for as you work through other tasks, Inbox 0 allows you to know what you are not working on. If an email comes in and will take longer than 5 minutes to answer, sort it into folders immediately. I use four:
a. “Someday Sometime” – emails do not require actions from me, but I find interesting or should be aware of
b. “To Do” – emails that require my attention, but will take longer than 10 minutes to answer
c. “Archive” – email blasts and team distribution list emails I can safely ignore
d. “Trash” – if you don’t need it, trash it
- When you are home, UNPLUG! – Sure your job might need you to be on call. You may have clients that require access to you 24/7. Don’t miss out on life because you are too busy worrying about the report you are working on or what might be in your inbox. If you think you need to stay a little late to finish something on deadline, do so, but once at home disengage and enjoy your friends and family. Spend at least 2-3 hours every day away from work, 100%. If you are workaholic like me, that is hard to do, but it is important. Make time to do the things in your life that make you happy.
These three tactics are the start of how to find that very important work / life balance we all strive for. While the workplace remains competitive and home life demands increase, employing these three tips can help to keep you sane, happy, and productive in both of your worlds.
Written by Maria Corcoran, WW Search Marketing Manger for Adobe