Ways to destress: Why is it hard to rest after a stressful workday?

Ways to destress: Why is it hard to rest after a stressful workday?

Work and rest are partners, not competitors. The better “rested” you are, the more energy and creativity you’ll bring into your work.

But why do so few of us really know how to rest and recharge at the end of the workday? 

The devil is in the details, but it’s important to define rest here. True rest – the type that makes you feel energized, inspired, and ready to take on the world – requires three key elements: relaxing your mind, body, and expectations.

However, with the overwhelmingly crazy nature of our workdays, accomplishing each of these three is a rather daunting task. And the truth is, many of us take our job stresses home without even realizing it. 

From the minute we clock out until the next morning when we punch in – when we are supposed to be resting and enjoying our non-work lives – we often let job stress seep in and take the most out of our time.

In this article, we will walk you through how you may have been unwittingly magnifying job stress and help you gain a clearer understanding of how to leave work at work. We’ll also identify quick ways to fight off stress and have a relaxing rest after a workday.  


In what ways do we take work home? 


After a long day at work, many of us find ourselves taking our job stress with us as we interact with our friends, children, or significant others. 

If we’re not careful, we inadvertently allow our work stress to become home stress…often at the expense of our relationships or our health.

Here are (often subtle) ways that we do it:

  • We think about stress during our commute. Driving home from work could be an exciting time to enjoy the freedom of being off the clock, but all too often, we choose to take it as a time to ruminate about the stresses of the day and think about our frustrations at work and everything else that’s weighing on our shoulders.

    The problem is that this can exaggerate our stress levels, making them seem higher after the commute home than they were at the end of the workday.

  • We vent about our work stress to our loved ones. Complaining about work to a loved one may feel good at the moment, but it can take a toll over time. While bottling your feelings up isn’t any good for you either, when you spend what could have been quality time with loved ones just focused on all the stresses of the day, you lose more of your day to job stress. The more time that you focus on work off of work, the less time you are being mindful and present, hence, enjoying the moment.
  • We worry about work instead of relaxing. Working in a job that requires constant troubleshooting or facing a heavy load of stress makes it difficult to shut off your “brainstorming” mind when you leave work. This is especially true for those working from home: our brains are always in the “finding solutions mode” that it can become hard for us to enjoy our personal lives.

Now that we have identified some of the common ways we take our work stress home, it’s imperative to ask ourselves…


How do we leave work at work?


Picture this: You’ve finally gotten into bed (and your back is thanking you for it), but all of a sudden your mind races with all the unfinished tasks, to-dos, and conflicts at work. You know you have to just shrug them off, but how?

It’s impossible to simply tell yourself to “just relax and sleep it off.” These are the thoughts you push aside when watching TV or eating dinner with family or friends but always seem to pop up as soon as you try to fall asleep. 

There are ways to help you detach from work the moment you clock out.

  • Tie up loose ends before you leave. Prepare yourself before leaving work. Try preparing a to-do list for yourself for when you get back the next day. 

    This allows you to leave with the comfort of knowing that things are taken care of as much as they can be until tomorrow, and it also helps you come in the next day and feel focused.

  • Create a post-work ritual. Routine tells the body what to do. This is the reason children need to have a bedtime ritual before falling asleep. We may be too old for bedtime stories, but setting up a ritual can make a huge difference in our day.

    For instance, consider your commute home as a ritual to separate work from personal time. You may make your own ritual to turn your “work brain” off too. It can be by changing clothes (even if you’re changing from one set of pajamas into another), playing specific music (to end the day), or even taking a warm shower. Try out new things and see what suits you best. If a specific routine works for you, keep doing it.

  • Enjoy your commute home. With some planning, you can make your commute home a relaxing (read: rewarding)  experience rather than just another hurdle to leap from before you can relax. If you’re into it, listen to audiobooks, either fiction (for fun) or nonfiction (in an area where you’d like to grow).

    Let your favorite Spotify playlist entertain you. Or better yet, take this time to mentally count everything you have to be grateful for. This can help you get into a more positive frame of mind and prime you to be more appreciative of the little things in life that come free of charge.


Ways To Make Your Home A Place To Relax


Your home is your haven from stress. With deliberate planning and mindset shifting, it will soon become easier to let your job stress melt away just by getting home.

  • Create a soothing home environment for yourself. Your home should feel like a retreat away from the stressors of the world. One of the best ways to have a home environment that soothes your stress rather than making you feel more tired is decluttering.

    Studies have shown that clutter has a subtle but very real effect on our stress levels. Make your bed every morning before leaving your room. Make sure the dishes are washed and laundry is put away before starting work. If you’re working from home, set up a designated work zone that’s reserved just for work and make another space to be used for relaxation (like your couch or bed).

  • Give in to small pleasures. Treat yourself by getting more of those little things in life that can draw a smile on your face. These are those “small pleasures” that instantly help lift your mood. It can be a cup of tea, watching your favorite Ted Talk, playing with your furry friend, a warm bath, or anything else that can raise your spirits.

    Go on, indulge — you deserve it.

  • Cultivate mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness exercises, such as meditation, can increase your ability to maintain an “at this present moment” perspective. In turn, this can help relieve post-job stress as well as build your resilience toward stress in the long run.
  • Sleep tight. There’s still no better way to recharge your energy than to get a good night’s sleep. Though this might be challenging for many of us, its benefits are enormous. Turn off your gadgets at least half an hour before bedtime and ensure that your bedroom is free from distractions that prevent you from sleeping. When you’re in bed, be there to sleep.
  • Find support. If you need to talk stressful things out before you can let go of them, it helps to have a supportive person who will make you feel heard and help you to let go of the stress. Also, if you are someone who finds it hard to organize your schedules and or stick to them (which can highly contribute to stress), find a time management partner.

    A time management and accountability partner can be someone who gently reminds you to refocus your thoughts and energy if you start getting bogged down by stressful thoughts of work.

    Ultimately, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by job stress, or you are experiencing chronic stress, consulting a professional — a counselor or mental health provider — should be your top priority.


Take a Break from Tech, Give Time to Your Passions


As reflected from the above-suggested activities, going on a mini daily tech detox may just be what you need to shed some of that work-related stress. 

Spend time on something else that can help you get your mind off of those worrisome workday woes. 

It may sound cliché, but there are still more important things in life outside of your work!

Take that long walk, return that call to your brother, book that weekend trip with your significant other, and most of all, leave that work stress at work.

Don’t worry, when you come back — it’s still there.

Have a stress-free life!

The real cost of multitasking (5 ways to rebuild your focus at work)

The real cost of multitasking (5 ways to rebuild your focus at work)


Think about the things you are doing right now. Obviously, you are reading this article, but chances are, you are also doing several things at once. 

Perhaps you’re also listening to music, DMing a friend, checking your email in another tab, or thinking about where to spend your weekend.

If you often do several things at once, you are a “multitasker.” And you probably think that you are fairly good at this balancing act. But numerous studies have shown that you may not be as effective as you think you are.

In this article, we’ll shed some light on the real cost of context switching, aka multitasking, on your productivity at work. Also, we’ll give you 5 simple ways to help rebuild your focus.


What is multitasking?


We often think of multitasking as performing more than one thing simultaneously: Watching Netflix series while scrolling through Facebook feeds, or driving while talking on the phone.

Multitasking refers to a) doing multiple things at once (like driving and talking on the phone) and b) jumping to another task without finishing the other first (like responding to emails incrementally while working on a larger project). 

But what is it that makes multitasking such a productivity killer? 

Doing multiple tasks at the same time or switching from one task to another will give you the illusion that you are accomplishing multiple things at once. But what you are really doing is quickly shifting your attention and focus from one thing to the next and jeopardizing the quality of your overall work. 


3 types of multitasking


The most common example we see on the Internet when we search multitasking is texting while driving. While this kind of double-duty (read: risky) attention split deserves a major callout and should be heavily frowned upon, this is just one of the many ways we try to force our brains in multiple directions simultaneously. 

There are three types of multitasking:

  1. Doing two tasks concurrently. This includes talking on the phone while driving or chatting with friends on Discord during a webinar.
  2. Switching from one task to another without finishing the first one. We’ve all experienced being right in the middle of focused work, and then our email notification pops up and demands our immediate attention.
  3. Accomplishing two or more tasks in rapid succession. It may not seem like multitasking at all, but our brains need time to change gears to work efficiently.

For the record, none of these three is necessarily worse than the others — they can all reduce our efficiency and can cause mental fatigue. 

Watch out for all these types of multitasking so you can regain control of your “work brain.”


What is context switching?


The short answer is: The time it takes to switch between two or more complex activities.

Context switching happens when you’re distracted by someone or something else in the middle of an important task, or when you interrupt your own focused work to prioritize another task (task switching). 

This situation, for instance:

You’re on a Zoom call with your team. But as soon as the conversation shifts away from something you’re responsible for, you check your inbox or jump back into the document you were working on — all while trying to keep one ear on the discussion.

Or what about this:

You’re working on a challenging project that requires your utmost focus. But you know your client usually asks for an update at this time so you constantly check your Slack to make sure you don’t miss it.

In reality, it’s hardly possible for most of us to achieve deep focus while continually switching back and forth from one task to another. If you are aiming to accomplish a difficult task, you need to reach a state of flow where you give your complete attention to that single activity. 

This is why context switching impedes you from being truly efficient. It can lower your overall work quality by stopping you from reaching your optimal state of focus.  


What is the real cost of context switching?


The more tasks you tackle at once, the more context-switching productivity loss can become an issue.

Studies show that it can take more than 25 minutes to resume a task after being interrupted. This is because distractions actively break down your concentration.

While the direct cost of context switching — task switching, or multitasking in general — might seem negligible, its lasting effect on your focus can be overwhelming.

It will :

  • Lead to anxiety: Research shows that multitasking can drain your mind’s energy reserves, causing you to lose focus and become more prone to anxiety.
  • Inhibit your creative thinking: Once you become more anxious by trying to juggle several things at once, your ability to think “outside the box” and be creative will likewise decline.
  • Stop you from working “in the zone”: When you enter the state of flow, your mind becomes so focused on a task that your productivity skyrockets. But when you’re constantly interrupted by other tasks, your brain will not be able to enter its flow state.
  • Cause more mistakes: Multitasking can exhaust your brain as if you had a restless night’s sleep; thus making you more prone to mistakes even with simple tasks.


5 simple ways to minimize context switching and rebuild your focus


Reducing the amount of context switching in your day requires deliberate planning on how you approach your daily work. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but these 5 quick tips have been tried and tested to help rebuild focus and improve work efficiency:


1. Follow the one task approach

Choose a single task to work on and dedicate all of your attention to it. Make sure that this is the only thing you plan to accomplish in a particular time frame.

It’s also beneficial to make a to-do list that includes every single task that you have for the day. This enables you to organize and prioritize the work to focus on at any given hour. 

And while the modern workplace is making it harder to focus on one thing at a time, you can rebuild your focus muscle with these two simple habits:

  • Remove as many distractions as possible.  When it’s time for your “focus work,” put your phone in another room, close your chatbox, and block distracting websites or apps if you need to. 
  • Start small. After years of context switching, your focus muscle is probably pretty wimpy. This is why you need to start small. Set aside a short block of time — even just 5 minutes — to focus deeply. And then build from there.


2. Time block your schedule to create clearer “focus boundaries”

Time blocking is a systematic approach to managing schedules where you break your day up into “blocks” of time. 

In each block, you set a specific task to be done. This way, instead of trying to cram work into the eleventh hour or in between meetings and emails, you know exactly what needs to be done at any given time. 

Time blocking isn’t just about scheduling your most time-sensitive work; it’s about scheduling everything —from phone calls to coffee breaks — so you can focus on one thing at a time while still giving you time to stay up to date.  


3. Add in routines and rituals that remove “attention residue”

Even if you finish a task during a dedicated “chunk” of time, when it’s time to move to other tasks you’ll still be thinking about the previous one. This is what researchers refer to as “attention residue.” 

Luckily, there are a few ways to reduce, if not get rid of,  the attention residue that happens when you context switch. 

One piece of advice is: Build routines and rituals that signal to your mind when it’s time to switch gears. 

This could mean grabbing a cup of coffee, closing your laptop, stretching, or walking around the office.


4. Use regular breaks to recharge

While deep focus is a vital tool in your fight against context switching, spending too long in a focused state can actually boomerang. 

You likely can’t stay in a high-energy, high-focus state all day long, but you can help sustain your energy reserves throughout the day by taking short breaks to recharge. 

Aside from your normal lunch and coffee breaks, you can also make use of micro-breaks to get a quick hit of rest between focus sessions. 

During these short, voluntary breaks, you can do breathing exercises to combat stress, stretch, or watch a funny video to help you relax.


5. Make sure to enjoy your non-work hours

If you’re unable to disconnect at the end of the workday, you won’t be able to give your mind the rest it needs to recuperate from the stresses of the day and be able to focus deeply the day after.

So leave work at work. Spend time with your family or friends. Take a relaxing rest. 


Wrapping it up…


The modern workplace is getting even busier, and there’s no stopping it. 

But the more you let yourself fall into the illusion of “accomplishing more with multitasking,” the harder it will be for you to hit your goals and feel good about the work you do. 

It’s time to tell it how it is — multitasking is a myth.

The only way to do more in less time is to focus on one thing at a time.

Have a productive, more focused (work)life!


15 Ways to Ensure Work Efficiency and Increase Productivity at Work

15 Ways to Ensure Work Efficiency and Increase Productivity at Work

Every second of your life is a priceless treasure. Do you treat it that way? 

While everyone is unique, each of us has the same number of hours in our days, days in our week, and weeks in our year. The difference boils down to how we use our time.

Making the most of our time is critical. But many of us don’t operate as productively as we would like for a couple of reasons, most of which are due to bad habits that interfere with our work efficiency.

When it comes to increasing your output at work, there are two ways you can do it: put in more hours or work smarter. I don’t know about you but I prefer the latter. This article will walk you through 15 no-nonsense strategies for increasing your productivity at work.


1. Get enough sleep 


Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is vital for your physical and mental well-being. 

A Harvard report shows that sleep deprivation reduces efficiency and makes you more prone to making errors. It decreases your concentration, working memory, logical reasoning, and mathematical capacity. 

Being well-rested, on the other hand, elevates mood, boosts creativity, reduces stress, and improves memory. It likewise sharpens your focus and enhances your ability to accurately make split-second decisions. 

So prepare for a day’s work by getting the shut-eye you need the night before.



2. Let go of perfection


It’s common for entrepreneurs or professionals to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task. But the reality is — nothing is ever perfect.

Perfection is an illusion. It can lead you to limiting beliefs that will impede your level of success. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, grind out your task to the best of your ability and move on. 

Accepting the fact that nothing will ever be done perfectly helps you get tasks done without crippling expectations. It also helps you view setbacks as learning experiences. 

When you stop fearing failure, you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate, as we often hold back on things due to a fear of failure. 

Focus on your progress. Cut yourself some slack if you don’t perform up to the impossibly high standards you’ve set for yourself. 

Remember: If you always aim for perfection, then everything you do will always feel subpar to you.



3. Create a pre- or post-work ritual


People who unfailingly accomplish their goals by enhancing work efficiency do so by creating sustainable habits. 

To be constantly productive at work, develop a routine that puts you in your best state before and after work. These “rituals” look different for everyone, so find the one that best suits you. 

It can be spending an hour at the gym every morning or taking a long walk after work to relieve some stress. 

When you create a ritual that leaves you feeling happy, healthy, and more focused, your work efficiency will skyrocket.



4. Get organized


Studies have shown that people with a messy workspace are less efficient and more prone to frustration than those who have an organized work desk. 

Clutter limits your brain’s ability to concentrate and process information, which in turn, contributes to stress and fatigue. 

Improve your mental health and work efficiency by simply decluttering. Get rid of all the non-essential items on your desk and assign a proper place to everything. Clean up your workspace every day before you go home.

Also, give yourself something nice to look at.

Outfitting your office with aesthetically pleasing elements — like plants — can help you focus and thereby increase your productivity. It’s likewise helpful to jazz up your office space with pictures, an art piece, a bunch of flowers, or anything else that can instantly put a smile on your face. 



5. Learn to say no to meetings


Meetings are one of the biggest time-wasting activities around, yet we somehow continue to unquestioningly schedule them, attend them, and in most cases, complain about them. 

An Atlassian report shows that the average office worker spends more than 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. 

So before booking your next meeting, ask yourself first whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or even simply a Slack message.



6. Track your time


You may think you’re pretty good at estimating how much time you’re spending on different tasks. However, research suggests only around 18 percent of people can accurately gauge the amount of time spent on any task.

Time tracking is a fundamental aspect of how we help our clients identify and solve problems with their time. By tracking the three major elements of your life (health, wealth, and self) across all hours of your day, you can discover the hidden time traps that soak up your time and prevent you from engaging in the tasks you actually need or want to do.

With such information, you can have valuable insight that can be used to create strategies to help you be more productive at work.



7. Break up goals into smaller tasks

Sometimes, looking at our big projects and goals as a whole can be both overwhelming and stressful. 

But once you have broken them up into smaller tasks, you’ll feel more in control and will be much more productive. 

Instead of writing down “finish project” as your goal, try breaking that into all the tasks it involves. This helps you keep on track in your day-to-day operation and make your big projects seem less daunting.



8. Take care of the biggest tasks when you’re most alert


We oftentimes push aside bigger tasks because we’re not confident we’ll accomplish them. But by the time we get to them, we’re either too tired from our day or too stressed from the smaller tasks we accomplished first. Hence, we can no longer give them the attention they need. 

This is a perfect recipe for productivity’s downfall. 

Instead, identify when and how you work best. And do the “heavy lifting” whenever that best time is. If you’re a morning person, start your day off by doing tasks that are most creatively demanding. But if you’re more of a night owl, like me, you can do the opposite.



9. Follow the “two-minute rule”


The gist of this rule is:  If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. Completing such a task right away takes less time than having to get back to it later.

Think about your daily chores like sending that email, throwing out the garbage, cleaning up the clutter, and so on.

This strategy can significantly improve your productivity by eliminating procrastination and helping you accomplish more tasks in a day.



10. Quit multitasking


Multitasking is a productivity killer. 

The human brain isn’t wired to multitask. Psychologists have found that attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity, even when the person feels like they are being more productive. 

Make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project. 

We’re fooling ourselves when we say we can easily juggle phone calls, eat lunch, and drive. Would you allow your surgeon to be on his phone while doing an operation?

Therefore, improve your productivity by concentrating on only one task at a time and keep distractions to a minimum.

If you are having trouble keeping focused, you can try the Pomodoro technique to give yourself sprints of time with planned breaks for a more systematized approach. Here is a great tool to get you started with Pomodoro if you are interested.



11. Take regular breaks


Don’t work your brain to the point of exhaustion. Even machines malfunction when overworked.

You might think working longer hours means getting more done, but you can’t work as well when you’re burned out, right?

This sounds counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help improve your concentration. Experts suggest that taking short breaks in-between long tasks helps you maintain a constant level of performance. 

Take a five-minute walk around the office, or grab some snacks. Just don’t pull out your phone and scroll through social media for an hour — that’s the wrong kind of break.



12. Take advantage of your commute


Instead of Candy-Crushing or Facebooking, use your commute time or any “bonus” time to pound out some emails, do some brainstorming, or indulge in some mindful (read: relaxing) activities such as listening to podcasts or your favorite Spotify playlist.

Use these precious hours to gain even more knowledge and peace in your routine.



13. Minimize interruptions


Having a coworker pop their head into your office for a quick chat may seem harmless, but even brief interruptions can result in a “slight” change in your work pattern and a corresponding decline in your productivity. 

Minimize interruptions by setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for critical projects (given you have a conducive workspace at home).

One good piece of advice is: Turn off notifications. 

It’s hard to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification, so turning off your notifications during your “in the zone” hours can be helpful. Unless you are waiting for an important message, block a specific time in your day to check email and messages.



14. Understand that being “busy” isn’t always being “efficient”


Efficiency isn’t tied with staying busy. Working smart is better than working hard. The goal is to achieve your desired results in the day with less effort and time.

It’s helpful to divide your tasks between urgent things (like meeting an important client) versus things that can wait until the next day (such as returning an email). 

While our society has trained us to view people who are constantly busy as efficient, this isn’t always the case. If you’re buried beneath a heap of tasks that show no sign of letting up, are you really improving your work efficiency? 

Check in with yourself, at least once a day, and make sure the task you’re working on is truly important.



15. Take care of yourself


This is our last tip but it is certainly not the least. You only have one self to depend on and bank your productivity on — take good care of it.

While getting enough sleep and doing exercise are two of your vital needs to stay productive, there are still several basic things you can do to help optimize your work efficiency.

Eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water. Cut off your bad habits — smoking, drinking, or hanging around toxic people.

If you need someone to complement your strengths and help you bring out your best, find an accountability partner

Treat yourself (and others) with kindness. Take time to do things that recharge and refresh you.



Capping it off…

Becoming more productive at work is all up to you — it depends solely on the decisions you make every minute of your day. 

With planning and discipline, anyone can be productive. 

Hold yourself accountable for every action you make. Associate with people who radiate positivity and with similar priorities. Stay organized. 

Productivity is a product of good choices, so start making them.

Now excuse me while I go take a 30-minute break. You should take one too.

Finding your work-life balance with 6 simple steps

Finding your work-life balance with 6 simple steps

Balancing one’s professional and personal life is a difficult challenge even in the best of times, but it’s all the more daunting and necessary during times of uncertainty. We often let work precede everything else in our lives. We want to succeed professionally, and that often comes at the expense of setting aside our own well-being.

Experts agree that the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging to our relationships (to ourselves and others), health, and our overall happiness. Which is why it makes sense that work-life balance ranks as one of the primary workplace attributes employees are looking for – second only to compensation.

And as far as productivity is concerned, research has shown that workers who feel they have a better work-life balance tend to work 21% harder than employees who feel overworked. Therefore, creating a harmonious work-life balance or work-life integration is critical to your success, both personally and professionally.

But the reality is: When working from home or when running your own business, creating work-life balance can seem like an impossible task.

While the concept of work-life balance may mean something different to each individual, in this article, we’ll break down 6 proven steps to help you find the balance that’s right for you.


1. Accept that there is no perfect work-life balance


When you hear “work-life balance,” you might think of someone who has an extremely productive day at work and gets to leave early to spend the other half of the day with friends and family.

While this sounds ideal, it’s not always the right fit for everyone.

A lot of overachievers develop perfectionist mindsets at a young age when their time is only allocated for school, hobbies, and perhaps an after-school job. Now as an adult, your life is no longer a school-and-other-stuff cycle. It gets more complicated.

As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities snowball. Perfectionism slips beyond your reach, and if this mindset is left unchecked, it can become destructive.

So let go of that notion of a perfect schedule, and strive for a realistic one instead.

Some days you will spend more time at work, while other days you might have more time and energy to pursue your passions or spend time with your loved ones.

Balance won’t be achieved overnight, so it’s important to remain fluid and assess where you are and where you ought to be (your goals).

Aim for excellence, or put another way, aim for your personal best today…not perfection.


2. Prioritize your health


While it may sound cringingly cliché, health is still your greatest wealth.

When we speak of balance, not everything has to be about the completion and achievement of a task. It also has to include self-care so that your body, mind, and soul are being renewed.

And it doesn’t have to consist of radical or extreme activities either. It can be as simple as a five-minute meditation or a yoga exercise.

Make exercise a must-do, not a should-do

It’s easy to cancel the gym or your evening run because you have a task that’s due soon.

But if you are as committed to your exercise routines as you are to generating money or making clients happy, you’ll find all of these activities are interconnected.

A healthy body means a fresh mind. And a focused mind helps you function better and complete tasks in less time.

Manage your thoughts

Dedicate a few chunks of your time each week to self-care, especially for yoga or meditation.

If you’re really pressed for time, start small with deep breathing exercises during your commute or a quick five-minute meditation in the morning and in the night.

This helps you ground your senses in your present surroundings and have a clutter-free (read:focused) mind.

Don’t be afraid to unplugCutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows you to recover from work stress and gives space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge.

Taking the time to unwind is critical to success, as it helps you feel more energized when you’re back on the clock.


3. Make time for yourself…and your loved ones


While your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life.

You were an individual before taking this position, and you still are now. Allocate time for the activities that made you happy before you started on this work journey, and maybe even spend some time finding new passions.

Achieving work-life balance requires deliberate action.

Set aside a weekly day of rest. Indulge in some small pleasures daily. Take a couple of minutes for uninterrupted “you time” – just you and your thoughts.

Moreover, spend time on something you love – other than work – and with those you love.Remember: no one at your company is going to love you or appreciate you the way your loved ones do.

And the poignant truth?

When things go south, everyone (including you) is replaceable at work – no matter how important you think you are to your job or business. So if you’re looking for a sign to make you take that vacation – this is it.

Sometimes, truly unplugging means shutting work completely off for a while. Whether your vacation consists of a one-day staycation or a two-week trip to Maldives, take time off as a necessity.

It will energize and refresh your body and soul, which then enables you to nurture your creativity – an essential ingredient to your work.


4. Change the structure of your work (and life)


Crash diets that fizzle out. New Year’s resolutions that are forgotten by February.

We’ve all been there.

You might be wondering: What’s missing in my routine that prevents me from doing these things?

The drive? I don’t think so. The more likely culprit is probably that you tried to make a massive life change too quickly.

If you’re trying to change a certain aspect of your life, plan it through: start small, then build from there.


Determine your priorities

Spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on what you value the most, and make a list of your top priorities at work and at home.

Then audit how much time you actually have each day by asking yourself these fundamental questions: What do I need to start doing? Stop doing? Continue doing? Do more of? Do less of? Do differently?


Set specific goals

Analyze your to-do list and cut out tasks that have little to no value.

Then turn this list of priorities into concrete and measurable goals.


Schedule scrupulously

Plan your work and work your plan.

If you want to turn your priorities and goals into reality, then you’ve got to be a strict scheduler.

Set aside 10 to 15 minutes the night before (or at the beginning of your day) to schedule your entire activities for the day.

You should also know your peaks and troughs. If you are a morning person, assign your toughest (or those that require high concentration) tasks in the morning. Otherwise, do the opposite.


Track your time

Log everything you do for a week, including your personal activities.

This will help you understand how you are using (and where you are losing) your time.

Create a separate calendar and log your actual time spent there, and cross-reference it with your expected scheduled time. This way, you can effectively estimate how long your tasks actually take and plan accordingly.

Or (shameless plug here) bring us in to help you map out your time.


5. Work smarter, not harder


Whether you’re a business owner or a busy executive, learning how to use time more efficiently is an important skill to learn.

Find the best time-management techniques that work for you, and stick with them. This can include the use of technology to become more organized, avoiding procrastination, finding an accountability partner, and learning to say “no” to projects that eat away at your time.

When you begin to adopt the right combination of time-management practices, you can cut stress and get back hours of your day.

Also, as uncomfortable as it can be, setting boundaries on your working time is a key factor in implementing a good time-management practice.

When you leave the office or clock out from work, it’s important to let go of the day and focus on yourself. Thinking about your upcoming projects or answering “a few quick emails” keeps your brain constantly engaged with work. It prevents you from taking a real rest, and makes it hard to be present and engaged at home when you need to be.

Consider using a separate computer or phone for work, so you can shut it off when you’re done for the day. If you can, notify your team members or other leaders about the boundaries you have set and when you won’t be accessible.

This will help them understand and respect your workplace limits and expectations.


6. Know when to ask for help


If you are overwhelmed and stressed at work, don’t suffer in silence.

Forget about that Superwoman/Superman image and talk to your team about your situation. Engage with a mentor and see if they can provide some needed clarity on what you are struggling with. Remember that the people around you are there to support you, all you have to do is let go enough to ask for the help you need.

Similarly, if a balanced life continues to elude you, or you are experiencing chronic stress, consult a professional – a counselor or mental health provider can work wonders to help you identify and cope with the myriad of stressors you may experience on any given day.


Wrapping things up…


Achieving a well-balanced work life is like training for a marathon: It takes a whole lot of effort to get in shape and a continued drive to stay that way.

Only those who commit themselves to this endeavor will get the chance to reap its enormous benefits.

Just as there are many ways to get in shape, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to achieve a good work-life balance. What is right for you now will ultimately change as new circumstances come into play. So it is only appropriate that you periodically review your situation and adjust accordingly.

But you don’t have to make big changes all at once to get there. Even if you implement only a few of the above strategies, they will already create a clear and measurable impact in your work and life.

Have a good (balanced) life!

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