In my previous blog I looked at the importance of taking some time off work. When we return from holiday, we often return with good intentions about how we will operate in the future, only to come back into the hustle of work and feel like we need another holiday. Here are my top tips to retain a great work / life balance.
1. Be Present in the here and now
How many times have the important people in our lives been talking to us, telling us about their day, only to see our faces looking down at our device? What message does that give off? Trust me it’s not a good one. How many times do we go out to dinner with these people and put our phones on the table in front of us? What message does this give off?
The answer? ‘There’s someone more important than you and I’m either talking to them now, or I’m waiting in case they call me.
In fact research led by Andrew Przybylski of Essex University found that the mere presence of the mobile phone has a negative effect on closeness, connection, and conversation quality. In short it’s not great for our relationships.
Being present with our families and friends is really important both for our well-being and theirs. This is time for our energy to be recovered and restored, a time for us to switch off thinking about work and a time not to be wasted. Take action by putting down your devices and listen properly to what your loved ones are telling you about their day. At the table, don’t have the phone on show, it gives off the wrong message and says ‘I don’t really care’.
2. Plan in deliberate (technology free) time for the whole family
A good way to do this is to set a time in the evening and at the weekend where all devices are left in the kitchen (this applies to children AND parents). In this time, plan in some fun, a game of tennis, a board game, get outside and enjoy some fresh air together. To make sure this becomes a habit, plan it in.
3. Plan in time for hobbies and family fun
To recover our energy, we need to think ‘balance’ and make sure that it’s not all work, chores or other people’s demands, all of which use our energy. Proper downtime should be re-energising. Think about the people you want to see, the hobbies you want to engage in and then to make sure you stay on track, write these activities in your diary and treat them like an important meeting. This will stop you from moving them or cancelling them for the sake of work or a chore.
4. Make your Bedroom Technology Free
How many of you check your e-mails before you go to bed? Just because you can work all the time now, thanks to the wonder of technology, it doesn’t mean you should. This is ineffective and will result in lower performance at work. Leave your phone in another room and remember if other people are emailing late at night, it’s perfectly acceptable to reply the next day.
Stimulates endorphins and reduces cortisol (the hormone associated with stress). Perhaps a short power walk, a run, a game of tennis or simply playing in the garden with your children and remember to plan it in, so that you don’t cancel it.
Often we feel, after a long day at work, too tired to exercise. Many organisations now, realising that due to advances in technology people do work out of the standard 9-5.30, allow their employees to build exercise into their working week. From a high performance point of view, this is the ideal and the way I believe we are going and we should be going. Discuss as a team if this would work for you?
6. Write a To Do list for a Great weekend
How many times do you think about work over the weekend? To ensure that you enjoy your weekend and that you are fully present, write your ‘To do’ list for the following week on Friday night. Once that list is complete, you are then free to enjoy the weekend, safe in the knowledge that you have the following week, all planned out.
What steps will you take to achieve a better work / life balance? Find out how Zenergos can help.