The daily grind can seem longer than its advertised eight or nine hours. Once you factor in commutes and after-hours emails, one’s work life takes up a large chunk of our waking hours.
But being completely focused on work isn’t the best way to be productive. You need to spend time away from work and do things just for you and your family. Create a daily routine that will make it easier for you to balance work and life, and follow these five top tips.
Use Tools to Save Time
The online sphere can be burdensome at times—it keeps us connected to work even when we don’t want to. But it can also give us the necessary resources that will help us save time and energy that could instead be spent on doing something for ourselves.
For instance, instead of trying to create a proposal from scratch, use proposal software to design high quality materials in far less time.
Have papers to write but no time? Use Trust My Paper to offload some of the writing stress in your life.
Don’t waste your time building a presentation in PowerPoint, when you can use presentation templates that are equipped with all the visuals and layouts you need to make an impression.
By using available tools, many of them completely free, you can save time at work, which you can then use to do something creative for yourself, or your family.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
One of the worst ways that professionals end up wasting hard-earned time is by trying to do everything themselves. We don’t know everything, and we can’t learn it all. But there are others who have the knowhow who can help us.
Trying to create a great resume for your next job but don’t know how to? Don’t spend hours trying to perfect it, refer to a resume guide, instead.
Have you been tasked with creating a SWOT analysis for your company’s project? You don’t have to figure it out on your own. Look online for SWOT analysis tips and tricks.
Even something as vast as a brand style guide has online and offline resources that will help you learn more and save you the hassle of having to work on something you have no knowledge of.
You Have the Right to Say ‘No’
One of the hardest things to do in a professional environment is to say ‘no’. When someone asks you to do something, you feel it is your obligation to accept it. But this isn’t true. You don’t need to say ‘yes’ all the time.
You already have set priorities in your job, but not everyone, not even your boss, will know your daily work routine. Thus, they might think it’s perfectly normal to ask you to do something else for them. It may not be because they think you have nothing to do—they may believe you are the best person for the job. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t already swamped.
Take a look at what your remaining tasks are before agreeing to take on a new assignment. Ask the person giving you the task if you can get back to them. Refer to your calendar and lists and assess whether you can take on a new project.
If you can’t, let people know. Don’t try and take on too much because you want to make a good impression—your mental and physical health isn’t worth it. Let your boss or co-worker know that you are unable to take this on right now. This way, you will better accomplish what you are already doing, and have enough time for yourself.
Take Up a Hobby
Because of how connected we are now, it is often difficult to leave work behind when you leave the office. The temptation is always to check your emails and correspond with your colleagues and clients, even on your commute, or when you’re at home. But this only means that you are in ‘work mode’ throughout the day and night. When can you rest?
Force yourself to leave work behind in the office by taking up a hobby. Research ways to make money online or study the market rate for rent in your area. Create a YouTube channel where you can share reviews of films or video games.
Or take up an activity that is completely offline—like pottery, glass-blowing, or carpentry. Doing things with your hands will keep your mind off work and focused on what you are doing in the here and now.
The point of taking up a hobby is that it will distract you when you are at home, instead of giving you free time that you will inevitably use to continue working. A hobby will also keep your mind engaged in other activities that have nothing to do with work, so you can start the next day refreshed.
Take a Digital Break
The evolution of marketing has proved that the digital arena is constantly changing and needs constant engagement. Which is why people are almost always connected to some device or other—their laptops, their phones, or their tablets. There isn’t a moment when we’re simply alone, at least not mentally.
So much of modern working life is about digital connections, and it is near impossible to disconnect from social feeds. Install browser extensions that block access to social feeds during certain hours of the day. Turn off notifications from your emails and apps when you are at home.
If you find yourself still feeling connected when you don’t want to, seriously consider deleting apps that are draining your energy and not letting you switch off from the working world. Work is important but it can’t be the only thing you have in your life.
Focus on Yourself
It is difficult to remember to put our needs over those of others, especially in professional settings. But by taking digital breaks, using tools and guides that help us, and by remembering that we have the right to say ‘no’ if we are unable to take on additional tasks, we will have the opportunity to do something for ourselves that will not only benefit our health, but will also make us better workers.