As we’re all intimately familiar with, COVID-19 has thrown everything we thought we knew about the world of work into disarray. People have been forced in to working where they live and living where they work; think makeshift office spaces, multiple Zoom calls taking place concurrently in share houses and ironing boards as standing desks.
In this environment, how do we maintain a semblance of normalcy? How do we make sure that while the line between work and our personal lives has quite literally become blurred, we continue to set healthy boundaries and maintain a good work-life balance?
We’ve put together our top five tips for achieving that seemingly elusive equilibrium.
1. Be strict with your time
It’s true that your time is one of the most valuable commodities you have. That means that the time you spend working needs to be focused on just that, work – not simultaneously trying to do myriad other things. By the same token, when you are not working, it’s time to fully switch off from work and turn your attention to the other things in your life that fill you up emotionally; family, friends, hobbies and interests to name a few examples.
Being present where you are is absolutely central to your work not ruling your life and your ability to engage meaningfully in all areas of your life. We recommend having set work hours, being present while you’re there, and sticking to the hours you’ve set yourself.
2. Pre-plan quarterly breaks/holidays
This tip is really quite self-explanatory, but we can’t say it enthusiastically enough: plan. breaks. throughout. the. year. Holidays, whether it’s a vacation or a staycation are absolutely critical to keeping you fresh and engaged with your work because they provide extended opportunity to unplug.
Planning your breaks out at the start of the year provides the psychological benefit of knowing that you can work to the height of your ability because a rest and some down time is always on the horizon. Not knowing when your next break is coming can lead to feelings of despondency and a burn out; not exactly conducive to that positive work-life balance we’re going for.
3. Better humans make better PMs
Key to having a work-life balance is ensuring you have things in your life, besides your work, that bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment. Whether it’s Latin dancing, basket weaving or field hockey, getting in touch with the activities, people and places that make you feel content will have a positive flow-on-effect on your work, too.
4. Know yourself
Know that you’re infinitely productive in the morning? Prefer to have a slow start to the day and really hit your straps post-lunch? Do you swear by early morning gym workouts to get you firing on all cylinders? Having good self-awareness will help you to play to your strengths and avoid experiencing work as an uphill struggle; meaning you’ll find it far easier to be present and productive while you’re at work, and able to switch off when you’re not.
Key to having a work-life balance is ensuring you have things in your life, besides your work, that bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment.
5. Identify what ‘time-wasting’ means to you
Do you genuinely get a sense of pleasure and fulfillment from scrolling through social media for hours in the evening, or is that habitual and your time could be better spent reading, exercising or socialising? Do you really want to get drawn into office gossip and chatter, or would excusing yourself and focusing on your to-do list be more aligned with your values? Identifying your values and what activities do and don’t serve them will make you happier and more fulfilled at work, with more time to spend on the things that matter to you.