Many New Years’ resolutions revolve around achieving a better work-life balance. This is especially true for meeting planners, who often work long hours, travel frequently and are separated from their loved ones.
Creating work-life balance can be challenging, but experts agree that it is essential for health, happiness and success. If changes are in order, they may be physical in nature (such as getting more exercise or cutting down on caffeine) or behavioral (such as learning to disconnect from technology or changing one’s working habits).
Achieving a satisfactory work-life balance is very individual; no simple answer will work for everyone. Below, Sujan Patel of Inc. offers a dozen suggestions for improving work-life balance:
Full disconnect. When you are not working, fully disconnect from your computer or smartphone. Disable push notifications and avoid the temptation to check your email and social media accounts. Focus instead on the humans around you.
Learn to delegate. A recent study found that just one out of every 10 managers possesses strong delegation skills. Delegating actually shows co-workers that you have faith in them. Identify tasks to be delegated and assign them to individuals with the proper skills to address them.
Establish routine working hours. Clearly communicate them to your team, and stick to your guns about retaining them. You can certainly deviate in the event of an emergency, however make that the exception rather than the rule.
Work in short bursts. In the 1980s entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo pioneered the Pomodoro Technique, where people work in 25-minute sessions without interruptions or breaks. Using a timer, they take a 3-5 minute break after the 25-minute sprint. After four sessions, they take a 15-30 minute break. The technique gets you up and moving, and reportedly increases productivity.
Create a time frame for answering inquiries. Instead of dropping everything whenever an email, phone call or employee question comes through, establish a specific time frame (such as after lunch) during which you commit to handling such inquiries. This also lets those with questions know when they can realistically expect a response from you.
Block out vacation time. To maintain work-life balance, make sure to take at least one vacation annually. In order to make sure you do it, actively schedule it like any other task.
Make a to-do list daily. Divide it into sections of what must be done immediately, and what can wait. Checking off items as they are accomplished will provide a great sense of satisfaction.
Journal. What you write in your journal is not meant for publication and does not have to be profound. Use journaling as an opportunity to reflect on your work, tally what you’ve accomplished that day or to simply relax.
Aim for a more healthy diet. More than three-quarters of Americans start their day with caffeine, however excessive amounts of it can cause anxiety. Try healthier beverages such as fresh squeezed juice, tea or water.
Regulate your body rhythm. Establish a regular wake-up and sleep time. The body is more relaxed with a natural circadian rhythm.
Get exercise. Regular exercise has physical and mental benefits. Science indicates that exercise releases norepinephrine, which helps alleviate stress, depression and anxiety.
Analyze your activity. Low-cost wearable devices made by FitBit and Jawbone allow individuals to monitor their movement and sleep habits. They can be helpful aids when analyzing what might be necessary to create a better work-life balance.