Achieving Work-Life Balance: A 7 Point Guide
Nov 13, 2018
Work-life balance is often ignored in the UK. A lot of business executives find themselves trapped in a schedule that is entirely focused on their professional career.
A recent OECD report found that UK ranks below average when it comes to maintaining work-life balance. While there is nothing wrong with working hard, you shouldn't ignore other aspects of your life.
Spending too much time at work is simply a recipe for failure.
Business executives need to give equal importance to work and life. Without a work-life balance, they may experience increased stress, lower life satisfaction, and familial strife.
In short, the one-sided quest to attain business success will leave you bereft of the things that matter the most in life — your health and family.
In this blog post, you will learn about the importance of achieving a work-life balance and how to achieve this important goal.
Why Work-Life Balance is Important
Work-life balance is defined by WorkLifeBalance.com as:
"Achieving a balance in the four quadrants of life: work, friends, family, and self."
You need to give equal importance to your work, your family, friends, relatives, and yourself. Ignoring any of these quadrants will create an imbalance, preventing you to live a fulfilled and enjoyable life.
Let's see how you stand to benefit from the quest to achieve work-life balance.
1. Improve Health
A work-life balance will allow you to improve your health. You will feel less stressed out which reduces the risk of mental and physical illnesses.
Work stress that stays around for a long time can take a toll on your health. Studies have found a link between long-term stress and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, constant stress leads to an increased risk of diabetes.
By achieving a work-life balance, you will feel less stressed out, thereby helping you to maintain a good mental health. Consequently, you will feel more engaged and productive, and contribute more to your work.
2. Find Work Enjoyable
Finding work enjoyable may seem like an oxymoron, but the fact is it's possible with a work-life balance. In fact, you will look forward to working when you maintain a work-life balance.
Giving equal time to work and life will allow you to be in a positive frame of mind. You can commit time to things that give you the most enjoyment. As a result, you won't feel as if your life is one big drag.
3. Face Less Familial Tension
Not giving enough time to your family can result in strives and tension. The effects of stress and fatigue due to overwork can affect your family life. Moreover, your partner may feel ignored or deserted, resulting in a divorce. If you want to avoid familial tension, you should focus on a work-life balance.
4. Avoid Burnouts
Allowing work to dominate your life will result in burnout.
Burnouts occur when a person feels overwhelmed in meeting constant demands. This can have a negative impact on both your personal and work life. It could lead to mental and physical problems.
Work-life balance is important for avoiding burnouts. You need to give equal time to different aspects of your life to avoid a burnout.
5. Greater Satisfaction and Happiness
Lastly, when you achieve a balance between work and life, you will feel more satisfied with life.
The reality is that money does not bring happiness. By attaining a work-life balance, you will be able to lead a more content and enjoyable life.
6. Increased Productivity
With a healthy work-life balance, you can work with increased focus and productivity. This is primarily due to less stress and tension.
When your mind is refreshed, you can achieve more within a short time. You will feel less exhausted during the day. Your increased focus and productivity will benefit the entire organisation.
Now that you know about the importance of work-life balance, here are some tips that will help you to ensure that you give equal time to your business, family, and self.
1. Set Limits to Create a Balance
Small business owners need to give a lot of time and effort to make their business a success. The effort required is particularly high at the start of setting up a business.
But remember that at the end of the day you are not Superman. You need rest and recreation like everyone else. This is why it's important that you set boundaries regarding how much time is given to work.
The boundaries don’t need to be very rigid. But you should have a clear idea of how much time to give to your work / business, your family, and most importantly to yourself.
Consider creating a personal policy similar to a policy for your business. This policy should outline how much time you can give to your employees, vendors, customers, and business contacts. Once created, you should share the policies with everyone so that they will honour your time.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Give equal time to your business and yourself.
Consider taking a walk and exercise. Make sure that you get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Also, do not skip meals, no matter how busy your schedule is.
Remember that life is like a sea saw. To avoid getting stuck, you should not focus on just one side of life. It's important to create balance and give equal time to yourself and work.
3. Tackle Important Tasks First
In his book 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People', management expert Stephen M.R. Covey stated that smart people prioritise daily tasks and tackle them according to their importance.
'First thing first' is the golden principle that you should remember to achieve a positive work-life balance. It means that you should be clear of the importance of tasks, and tackle them accordingly.
A lot of business owners get caught up in non-essential tasks. With a chaotic mindset, everything seems like an emergency. But if you look at tasks objectively and calmly, you will find that a lot of them are not worth the time.
That's why the first thing that you should do is to create a schedule.
List all the items in an excel sheet that needs to be tackled on a daily basis. Next, rearrange the list according to:
Urgent and important tasks should be on top of the list. Next, should come tasks that are important but not urgent. The bottom of the list should contain tasks that are neither important nor urgent. You can delegate certain tasks to others, in case of time constraints.
Remember that time can be your friend or your enemy. You need to utilise the available time so that it works for you and not against you.
4. Use Applications to Take Off the Load
To save time, let technology do the work for you. Consider using applications to automate certain business tasks.
For example, if you have to file your taxes, use an accounting software to calculate them. Also, file them online before the due date. This will not only take the drudgery involved in calculating taxes but also reduce the chances of errors.
Moreover, there are apps that will automate the task of engaging with social media audience. Apps such as AgoraPulse, Hootsuite, and Social Oomph can schedule and post on multiple social media platforms at once. These tools will allow you to maintain a strong digital presence without having to spend a lot of time.
Also, you can use email marketing tools such as MailChimp or Slack to effectively promote your products and services through email. To optimise your digital marketing efforts, use Needls, Spokal, or Salesforce.com.
Using technological tools, you can free up the time spent on work and focus more on your life. This will help you to achieve the goal of a work life balance.
5. Take a Break
One of the cardinal rules for achieving work-life balance is to take regular breaks from work. Whether it's a weekend escapade or a month long vacation, take the well-deserved break.
Consider adding it to your budget. Write a list of things that should be taken care of when you are on leave. Assign responsibilities to executives you think can best handle them. In case you don't have individuals who can take over managerial duties, consider using the services of a UK executive job hunting firm.
Ideally, you should plug off from your work completely when on a vacation. If that's not possible, you should structure the work around the vacation activities. But try to limit the work to just an hour (and not more than two) during vacations.
6. Avoid Being a Perfectionist
Perfectionism is one of the main reasons that most C-level executives are not able to achieve a work-level balance. In the quest to things perfectly, executives tend to stay late at the office.
But the fact is that perfectionism is a self-defeating endeavour. You need to accept that making mistakes is only human. By trying to avoid mistakes, a perfectionist is not able to reach their goals.
Being a perfectionist will hold you down and prevent you from achieving the best possible outcome.
7. Learn the Art of Delegation
A lot of business executives tend to do everything themselves. Their constant craving for perfection prevents them from delegating tasks to others.
But everyone has a limit to how much one can achieve during a workday. If you try to do everything yourself, you will feel exhausted, and end up losing the bigger picture or the strategic aspects of your business.
Working beyond your capacity will hurt your business and your health. That's why it's important that you delegate tasks to your staff. You should only perform the most important tasks related to business planning, strategy making, and analysis. This should be your primary areas of concern. The rest should be delegated to others.
When delegating tasks, consider creating a system of authority and responsibility. Consider creating a hierarchy with executives at the top who will be able to plan and organise the work of the remaining employees and remain answerable for their performance.
Business executives need to focus on attaining balance in life.
Jefferson Maguire is a professional executive search and headhunting firm. We provide discreet executive search services in the UK. You can contact us by dialling 01329 288 688 today to know more about our services.