At MBC, we are all about the work-life balance. We are firm believers that you need to work in and on your business, but your business really needs to work for you also.
One of our fundamental principles at MBC is to ensure your business and personal goals are intertwined as tightly as your business and personal finances. This is a balancing act but vital in creating a life you love.
All studies point to the same conclusion: a poor work-life balance can result in unhealthy levels of stress, unhappiness, and even reduced productivity.
Are You ‘At Risk’?
Certain groups are more affected than others by work-life interference. It may surprise you that it is common for women to experience a worse work-life outcome than men due to their level of caring and domestic responsibilities.
Parents in general (and mothers in particular) also fair worse in the work-life juggle along with people who are caring for others, such as sick, elderly or disabled relatives.
The ‘Sandwich Generation’ are emerging as ‘at risk’ in the struggle with women who care for children as well as elderly or sick relatives thought to have the worst work-life outcomes.
Managers, professionals and those in the mining industry are also at a higher risk of tipping the scale into a negative work-life outcome.
The trend towards flexible working hours and working from home can be helpful for some, but they can also prove to have a negative impact on work-life outcomes for others.
You aren’t alone if you are struggling with achieving the perfect balance in your life, but what can you do about it? The first step is to look at what works best for you in creating and then continuing to manage the life you want.
MBC’s Top 10 Work-Life Balancing Tips
We all struggle with keeping the work-life balance so we have canvased our staff for the best pieces of advice they have been given over the years.
Take a look at MBC’s top 10 tips to restore the balance and harmony in your work and personal lives. Implement a few or all of them, the main thing is that you are conscious of making some positive change.
1. Triage your life…set your priorities.
Prioritising the big picture is as important as prioritising your to-do list on a weekly and daily basis. Ask yourself… “if I could focus on one thing in my life what would it be?”. Work out your top five life priorities and then allocate your energy and time accordingly. Don’t waste time on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
2. Learn how to say "NO".
Don’t be the “yes” person at your own expense. Truly effective and productive people are masters at not taking on more than they can handle. They delegating to make things work for their personal work-life balance. Remember you gain nothing from being the martyr. Adopt a mantra of considering before you say yes and asking for help when you need it.
3. Don’t be afraid to mix business with pleasure.
Make that work meeting over coffee, lunch or a glass of red! Do the beach walk during your lunch break while attending the conference. Schedule a few days to be a tourist and explore a new region while on your next business trip. Life is not a competition of who is the busiest or who can achieve the most. We all have the right to enjoy our lives. This is your life, only you can make it a good one!
4. Budget your time.
Tracking your time for a week or a month very generally can give you an idea of how you spend it. Think of it like assessing your ‘Time Budget’. How many hours do you spend on doing things that don’t matter to you or that you don’t enjoy? How does your ‘Time Budget’ align with your life priorities? How can you get your ‘Time Budget’ working for you rather than against you?
5. Get plenty of fresh air, sleep, healthy food and exercise.
Your body needs its own healthy balance. We all know when that balance is out because we don’t feel our best. Listen to your gut literally and seek advice on your health when you need assistance. Getting the basics right is key. Make sure you get enough fresh air, the right amount of sleep for you, healthy food that fuels your body and sufficient exercise. It may feel counterintuitive to add another activity to your life, but exercise relieves stress, clears your mind, and ultimately makes you more productive.
6. Concentrate on one thing at a time.
It’s official…multi-tasking and superwoman/man simulating are out and focusing your time and attention on the task at hand are back! It’s great news for all those who really couldn’t quite achieve the much-acclaimed unicorn of a skillset. Multi-tasking has been proven counterproductive!
7. Live in the moment.
The new much sort after skill of our current time is to be present and live in the moment. Being so connected, we have never been more disconnected. It’s a simple practice and more a discipline than anything else. When you are working, work. When you are spending time with your friends and family or having time to yourself, focus solely on the moment you are in. It’s proven that truly contented people are those who focus on living in the moment for all it’s worth.
8. Reject perfection… work smarter, not harder!
The most productive people are not the ones who are hung up on perfection. Perfectionists tend to overthink, overanalyse and over-plan. Meanwhile efficient people get in and get the job done. It may not be perfect, but it is a starting point. If you do tend towards overthinking and striving for perfection, the key is to work out how you work most efficiently. From there you can devise a strategy to work with your strengths and not let your weaknesses hamstring your efficiency.
9. Set boundaries!
Technology has proven a major stumbling block for our work-life balance. Set your boundaries for work and private time and stick to them. You must be the guardian of your own time. Turn your phone off and don’t read your emails while you are with your friends and family or having a mental break from work. While you are at work, make it clear that it isn’t appropriate to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency. You will be more effective in all aspects of your life with firm boundaries in-place and people will learn to respect them.
10. Evaluate your work-life balance regularly.Work-life balance is an ever-changing journey – not a destination. Your priorities and needs change constantly throughout your life and so does your need to assess your work-life balance. You will know yourself when your balance has been tipped and you need to step back and look at how you are managing it. Be aware of your own personal warning signs like stress headaches, mood changes, problems sleeping and other tell-tale signs.