2020 hasn’t been an easy year for anyone to say the least. A year where the world was hit with a pandemic that saw us forced to change how we work, and how we play…
The adjustments we all had to make brought with them challenging collisions between our personal lives and professional lives. We needed to adapt to new ways of working, communicating, learning, shopping and the rest. This also meant that creating a work/life balance, became even harder than usual.
How do we take a zoom meeting for work at the same time that we need to pick the kids up from school? How do we study for exams while the whole house is at home making noise? How do we switch off at the end of the work/school day and do something ‘just for fun’ when there isn’t much to do? We’re sure each and every one of you asked yourselves a variation of one of those questions at least once or twice throughout the past year.
So what is the best way to balance your professional and personal life? We’ve rounded up our 6 top tips to make sure you continue to enjoy both as much as possible
1. Schedule your Time
When working from home it’s often difficult to schedule time for work and time for personal things. The days seem to roll into each other and before you know it you’re working in the middle of the night and wasting time on other tasks during the day. Therefore, it’s important to schedule your time and plan your days.
By setting work hours during the day, break times and time for personal issues, you’ll be able to keep focused and productive every day. Planning ahead often helps with juggling these elements especially when there’s a lot going on and helps to keep you on a logical schedule.
Additionally, investing in time tracking and productivity tools is also beneficial. There are lots of tools you can use to make sure you’re getting your tasks done each day. For example, BlockSite’s focus mode feature enables you to control your schedule via the Pomodoro technique. You can break down your tasks into intervals and then take short breaks. With work mode you can also set times when to block websites and when to browse freely, meaning you don’t need any willpower, as BlockSite does all the work for you
2. Nurture your Network
We all need people to help us from time to time. In business and in our personal lives it’s important to nurture our networks. What do we mean by this? Well, for example if you have children at home during these unprecedented times – it’s just as important to make your work colleagues aware of this, and your schedule surrounding them as it is to ask for help from family and friends in keeping them occupied.
Another example, while working from home is making sure that you keep your ‘working relationships’ alive. This can often be difficult when you’re not in front of your colleagues and need to hold meetings online, but make sure you keep in touch and in the ‘loop’ with the business world even from home. This way, you’ll be able to make sure you’re keeping on top of your work and staying in the know with those important to your career.
3. Organize your Environment
To keep focused throughout the day, it’s important to make sure you have a good ‘work environment.’ To be honest, one of the main benefits of working from home is that you’re able to choose your own workspace however, while the sofa may be a comfy place to start, it’s important to find a dedicated spot in your home that you associate with your job and are able to leave when your ‘job’s is done for the day.
If it’s an option, the best place is a room that you don’t use for ‘personal’ hours of the day. It might be a good idea to set up a home office where you can close the door and remove all distractions. It’s also important to make sure you have everything you need to get your work done before you begin as this will make working from home easy, comfortable and efficient.
Additionally, in terms of organizing your environment, it’s also important to make sure you keep your house and home and not entirely an office. Make sure you have spaces in your home that aren’t for work but rather for chilling out and taking time for yourself. This will help you stay balanced throughout the day.
4. Practice Self Care
Remember that puzzle you wanted to finish? That run you wanted to go on to clear your head? Or that book you wanted to read? – It’s important that you make time for all those things too. By practicing self care, you’ll be able to keep things in perspective and take some time out, even while you’re at home. Self care is important as it allows us that ‘me time’ we all cherish and let’s face it, could all do with at least once a day. It is also the smartest personal and professional investment you can make.
Why? We hear you ask, well because as Inc Magazine reported “If you don’t continually cultivate self-awareness, dance with your own fears, and push yourself out of your comfort zone, you won’t grow. And if you don’t evolve as a person and a business owner, you’ll eventually hit a wall you can’t break through.”
Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to every facet of your mind and body in order to be the best version of yourself! How can you do this? There is a different kind of nourishment for every part of you. For example;
- The body is nourished with healthy food 🥗
- The heart is nourished with joy, compassion, and love ❤️
- The mind is nourished with knowledge 📚
- The spirit is nourished with equanimity and self-awareness🧘🏻♂️
Decide what element of self-care you’re most drawn to and make sure you take time out of your day to take care of number 1.
5. Use Technology
To maintain your productivity, you should be aware of the technology you can use to help you. With millions of people working from home, we have all found ways to stay social through creative and virtual options. With everything from trivia nights to birthday parties, conference calls and board meetings – Zoom has been there to help.
It’s no shock therefore, that daily downloads of the Zoom app have increased 30x year over year and the app has been the top free app for iPhones in the United States since March 18, according to Bernstein Research and Apptopia. Zoom said daily users spiked to 200 million in March, up from 10 million in December.
Additionally, services such as BlockSite have also been on hand to help you with proper time management and scheduling your day. Such services have allowed us all to stay productive, focused and in the zone – wherever we may be working from.
However, this is all great for our professional lives but how does it benefit our personal lives? Well, by being able to socialize while social distancing through online platforms – we can still do the majority of the things we love and see the people who mean the most to us.
Make sure you stay up to date on the latest technology platforms that can help you both personally and professionally during these times.
6. Know your Strengths and Weaknesses
Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses gives you a better understanding of yourself and how you function. It also helps you to grow more and gives people around you the chance to understand what you’re good at, and where you might need help.
For example, your biggest personal strength would be something that comes easily for you. Maybe you’re good with numbers, maybe you’re a great cook or maybe you are great at writing. Whatever it may be, make sure you’re aware of your strengths and use them to your advantage.
However, it is equally important to be aware of your weaknesses in order to grow and improve on these areas. Maybe you could improve at keeping in touch with people, maybe you need to improve your time management or maybe you need to improve your number skills. Whatever it may be make sure you communicate these areas to family, friends and colleagues to help solve these issues and better them.
Regarding strengths and weaknesses, it’s important to communicate. You’ll help others around you get to know you better and you’ll be able to get to know yourself better in the process.
If something is difficult or confusing for you, it is important to express this feeling. One way to communicate this is by using a feeling and need statement. For example, ‘I’m feeling confused and I need your help’. This will help start a conversation that will help to begin problem-solving and trying to develop strategies.
If something is easy or you feel really confident in doing it, it is also important to communicate that using a feeling need statement as well for example, ‘I’m feeling motivated and I need to keep going with this.’ This will also help start a conversation to highlight strengths and areas of interest.
Overall, It’s important to keep positive during these challenging times and remember to be realistic in the process. Not everything is going to be smooth sailing and not everything will be really hard. Learn to balance the good with the bad, the professional with the personal and you’ll be on the road to success in no time!