We all struggle to find the right balance between work and life. And it’s usually stress that’s the culprit. Stress is one of the biggest enemies of peace and productivity. Stress can interfere with time management and effective planning methods- not to mention affect our health mentally and physically, which can also slow us down unnecessarily.
By finding ways to relieve stress in our lives and improve productivity, we can find that work-life balance that everyone’s running after. Here are some of our thoughts and methods on attaining that balance.
Keep home at home and work at work
The problem: Our emotions can get the better of us, and seep into different aspects of our lives. Sometimes our repressed anger at work is released at home, or vice versa. The mix of responsibilities and the desire to be present everywhere at the same time can also affect our productivity in both places.
The solution: Disconnect from work while at home and from home while at work! When you focus on one task at a time, you’re more productive. Try not to think about any other task than the one you are working on, and give the rest of the tasks their own allocated brain space. Also when you channel your stress in a healthy manner, you won’t risk your emotions affecting different tasks and responsibilities. Some of the best stress relieving methods that help us when we’re feeling stressed or anxious are exercising, breathing, practicing mindfulness, listening to music, writing, relaxing, shopping, enjoying a cup of tea and watching TV. We make sure to spend at least thirty minutes of the day engaging in a stress relieving activity. Even better if we can squeeze in more than one!
The problem: We want to do it all, and we want it all to be perfect. We set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, and jam pack our schedules thinking we can accomplish it all, gracefully mind you. By doing so, we are setting ourselves up for highly stressful situations and failure. When we miss a deadline at work, or are running late to an appointment – we subject ourselves to stress and panic that can easily be avoided had we planned our day with a bit more flexibility and freedom. In the long run, this stress can lead to disappointment in ourselves, loss of confidence, and even depression.
The solution: Let go of perfectionism. Don’t jam pack your schedules. Don’t be too hard on yourself to accomplish your goals. Leave time to breathe and rest in your daily schedule because you’ll need that time if you’re running late, or really just to refuel before you move on to the next task. Learn to say ‘no’ to too many things in one day, at work and at home. You’re allowed to be honest and say you won’t be able to finish everything on time and find a solution with your boss. You’re allowed to order take-out because you didn’t have time to cook dinner that night. Setting realistic goals is the key to living a stress free life.
Plan and prioritize tasks
The problem: It’s great to live spontaneously and live today like it’s your last! But if you live till tomorrow, you’d probably wished you planned your day better. The double-edged sword here is when you plan too much and lose that spontaneity. When dealing with an unorganized list of plans, we end up rescheduling and postponing tasks, and then wondering where the time went. This leads to an even longer to-do list the next day, and very little spontaneity. Where’s the balance here? How do you succeed in planning your days efficiently and having free time?
The solution: Most of us underestimate the power of prioritization. If you use a categorization system- classifying your tasks into the following categories: urgent and important, important but not urgent, and unimportant (those items that can wait). This system makes it easier to plan your days out, making sure you’re only doing the urgent things first, and pushing all the unimportant things till later. This helps you map out your priorities for the day or week, and relieves that anxiety of having a long list of things to do, not to mention gives you the free time you thought you lost somewhere in that list.
The problem: It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time to exercise” – we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s true, we might not have time to do something. But we forget we’re the ones planning our days. If we really wanted to do something, we would find a way! We spend all day at work, and still manage to finish chores, pay bills, see friends and family, run errands. Why is it when it comes to something we want to do for ourselves suddenly we don’t have time for it?
The solution: Our bodies are just as important as our minds. They need to be nurtured and taken care of to stay healthy and productive. A tired body and soul will slow us down and even prevent us from accomplishing our basic responsibilities. Make sure when you’re planning your schedule, you’re including activities for yourself: time to read, drink a hot cup of tea, watch your shows, exercise, learn a new skill, be thankful and breathe!
Sisi & Rara