Work-life balance, although important, has become the exception rather than the rule in today’s hustle culture-led work environment. Middle-level managers, especially, have to deal with constant pressure from their clients at one end and their senior leadership at the other. But if you find yourself struggling, don’t worry. Just implement these work-life balance tips to achieve better balance in your life.
Work-life balance tips for managers
- Plan your day: You may have dozens of tasks on your plate, but not all of them would be of equal priority. Prioritise your tasks so that you get the maximum out of your work day. You can use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix for classifying the tasks on your to-do list in order of urgency and importance.
- Set SMART goals: This might sound like a redundant tip, but it is amazing how often this simple point is missed out on. SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based) goals will enable you to focus on your goals systematically without having shifting goalposts. Instead of an unspecific goal like ‘work more efficiently’, which is subjective, define goals such as ‘complete XYZ document’ or ‘call up 10 clients’, which are easier to track.
3. Know your strengths: Another work-life balance tip for managers is to delegate non-core work. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do everything yourself; focus on your strengths and delegate or outsource the rest. It may be more time or cost-effective in the long run to get someone else to do them for you.
4. Have set working hours: In today’s work culture, work expands to fit our time. Hence, it is important to define your start time and your end time. If you decide to shut down your laptop at a fixed time every day and stick to this routine, you will soon learn to manage your work within the set hours, and yet have enough time for yourself and your family.
5. Use time-saving tools: Today, we have at our disposal tools that help us save a tremendous amount of time. For example, instead of face-to-face meetings, we can use Skype or Zoom. We also have tools that can help us track the amount of time required for almost all processes such as the amount of time it takes to convert leads to sales, how frequent and how long our meetings are, and so on. Investing in these tools and making them a part of the organisational culture can help save a lot of time that can be used more productively.
6. Eschew perfectionism: While it is important to aspire to do well, those chasing perfectionism maladaptively may invest large amounts of time and effort for marginal increments in improvement. A cost-benefit analysis of such an effort may help you understand whether putting in the extra time in one task is worth it or is there a need to move on to another task and utilise your time well.
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7. Unplug: Another tip for managers to achieve better work-life balance is to unplug from all devices and official distractions. Technology may be a boon, but it has also made us constantly accessible, which can be unhealthy. It may be wiser for your mental health to resist the urge to repeatedly check your inbox. Do not check messages or emails when you are done for the day and turn off your notifications. Over time, you will eventually begin to feel more in control.
8. Minimise distractions: It is tempting to reach the office, settle down, have a cup of coffee, and check emails and social media for some time before starting work. These activities are enjoyable, but they hinder efficiency, as a result of which we may end up taking longer to complete tasks. Set time for doing these activities only on your breaks and do not spend an unreasonably long time on them. Limit anything that could be distracting you or slowing down your progress.
9. Work from home tips: If you work from home, the office literally never shuts down, and you can be caught in a trap of your own making. Designate a specific place as office space for yourself. Work only in that space. At the end of the day, get out of the office chair and shut down the laptop for the night. Set time out specifically to spend with family, to have some me-time, and to focus on your health. Do not carry your work to your bed; if something needs to be done, it may be possible to keep it to the next working day too.
10. Find a mentor: If you can find a mentor, your mentor may be able to help you understand where you could save time and what activities to focus on. Your mentor may be able to point out some habits that may not be serving you well and offer suggestions to do things differently to save more time and balance your life.
These work-life balance tips for managers may not sound easy, but trust us, they can make a HUGE difference. For more such tips, keep following the Manah Wellness blog.