Do you constantly feel tired? Does it always seem like there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done? If so, chances how you approach your work/life balance may need some re-evaluation. Generally speaking, there are two ways to increase your work output: work harder or work smarter. While some may look at either option as viable, putting in more hours at work when there are just as many things to focus on in your personal life can, sometimes, do more harm than good.
Striking a balance between your professional and personal lives is key. Following the sage advice that you should focus on quality over quantity, which still rings true, can help you in this process. The following list of tips is something that you can apply to, both, your personal and work lives, as you approach making a change.
1. Avoid distractions
Distractions are the main enemy of productivity. If you want to achieve positive life changes, start with eliminating all possible distractions. Unfortunately, these come in many shapes and sizes. Some are unavoidable. If you’re serious about making a change, however, there are a number of steps you can take to improve your daily efficiency.
First, start with how you approach work. More specifically, think about your environment. Whether you’re working from home or in an office, there are probably plenty of distractions that interfere with your productivity. If possible, consider relocating to a different space or even working remotely. You don’t even have to move too far away from your main center of operation. As long as you identify what distracts you and attempt small, incremental changes, you’re off to a good start.
2. Learn to say, “No.”
Being able to assertively say, “No,” can make your day go a lot smoother. Think about all the things we say “Yes,” to that actually stand in the way of getting more done!
For many people, saying no to meetings helped them be more productive and gave them time to focus on more important things. Consider this with meetings that take up too much time or that address issues that can easily be resolved via email or phone call.
As for your personal life, don’t be afraid to pass on things you feel obligated to attend for other people’s sake. Your time is limited, as it is. So, sometimes, it’s more than OK to put your needs first.
3. The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a classic time-management technique that people can apply to lives, as well as their work. This rule suggests that 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results.
To successfully implement this rule, daily, take a good, hard look at your day-to-day responsibilities. The tasks you find most valuable are probably the hardest ones to accomplish. So, focus most of your attention and strengths there, first.
Resist the temptation to initially clear up the small things. If you start working on lower-value tasks, you might never get around to completing the more important ones. The trick, here, is to not lose sight of your priorities.
4. The Pomodoro Technique
This is another classic time-management method that you can start applying to your life, immediately. If done correctly, this technique can help you power through distractions and get things done in short work intervals.
This work management rule advocates that you first decide on the tasks you want to complete, set a timer to 25 minutes, and then get to work until the timer rings. Once done, take a 5-minute break and repeat the cycle 4 times. After the 4th cycle, take a 15-30-minute break and start over, again, from scratch.
This approach allows you to direct your focus in short bursts while concentrating on a given task without distractions.
5. More breaks
This may sound contradictory to increased productivity and quality, but taking more breaks is correlated with higher employee engagement and efficiency.
If you ever find yourself stumped by a problem, take a break, go for a walk, and come back with a fresh mind. Invigorated and with a new perspective, you might see things differently. The reason this works so well is that movement breaks are essential to your physical and emotional functioning. Once you get your blood pumping, your brain starts to work better and productivity improves.
Taking breaks can play a significant part in supporting your overall health in the long run. Apart from reducing stress, regularly taking time to be mindful of your body’s needs and your work/life balance can help keep you on track, as well as happy and healthy.
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