PRIORITIZING YOURSELF AND WORK AT THE SAME TIME
We’ve all heard the tantalizing mantra of how important it is to figure out how to achieve a work-life balance. On some level, most of us understand how good it is for us to find this balance. Once we make time for self care and embrace tips to carve out more personal time, we won’t be so overworked, we will feel better and probably be healthier.
Life has many dimensions – you can never just turn one thing on and the other off like flipping a switch. But what you can do is learn how to maximize your efficiency skills. This will help you transition from work to fun more easily. Once you do that, you can learn to prioritize your career and your personal life at the same time.
The way you prioritize yourself and your work won’t be set in stone. It depends on what stage you are at in your life. At different stages, you may need different priorities. For instance, parents of young children will often put their families at the top of their priority list, while young professionals and empty-nesters will have more time for themselves.
Follow these tips on how to take care of yourself, no matter how busy you are at work, or what stage you’re at in life.
Schedule Each Day Efficiently
We try to squeeze so many things into our days. We make lists, leave ourselves notes, jam our smartphone calendars with reminders and even send ourselves notifications so we don’t forget any little detail. But even with all this, you might not be scheduling your days as efficiently as you could be. That’s why you should try the 1-3-5 method. This way, your daily schedule will have one very important task to accomplish, three tasks of medium importance, and five small things to cross off the list. Your 1-3-5 plan might look something like this: (1) Deliver client A’s monthly data analysis report by 10 a.m. (3) Call client B to discuss upcoming event; Evening spin class at the gym; Weekly work meeting with your project team. (5) Buy a birthday card for your aunt; Finish your expense report; Pick up your prescription from the pharmacy; Walk the dog; Stop at the grocery store for bread and fruit.
This 1-3-5 method forces you to prioritize your daily tasks on both levels, looking at work and personal needs together as you decide what is most important. If you are doing these lists and keep finding they are full of work priorities and nothing personal, go back through them. You want to pencil yourself in, make time for self care and your own needs.
Be Present During Your Own Time
Learning to unplug from work when you’re enjoying personal time can take effort for some people. You might keep checking your phone for work texts or emails, almost reflexively. Or you might find yourself absently scrolling through social media, even though you are supposed to be spending time with the person next to you. If this sounds like you, try these deliberate steps to learn how to be truly present during your own time. First, say no to screen time. Put away your phone during your personal time. That way, you can give your full attention to the person whom you are with. And if it’s after work hours, avoid the temptation of responding to work emails. Work can wait until morning. The person you are with – or just time to spend by yourself – is the priority now.
As you are planning your personal and self-care time, whether it’s time with family, friends or heading out for some exercise, don’t forget to pack some nutritious snacks. It’s all part of being good to yourself. Pack fresh fruits, whole grain crackers and hummus, or BodyKey by Nutrilite™ Meal Bars, which come in a variety of delicious flavors like Caramel Peanut Butter, Chocolate Brownie and Mixed Berry Crisp. These convenient, portable bars will help satisfy your hunger and are easy to take with you anywhere.
Learn to Say No
For all the people-pleasers and well-mannered among us, this one can be difficult to learn. Saying no takes practice. But you need to learn how and when to say it, like if a co-worker asks for help with a project but you know you are simply too busy. In the past, you might have pushed aside your own work to help out, then slogged through extra hours to finish your own job. That’s not efficient for you. If you are truly too busy to help someone, tell them no nicely and explain that you’re not able to lend a hand. If you work as part of a team and too much of the work has landed on your desk, learn how to re-delegate, which is another form of saying no. Disperse the extra work to others on your team who might not have as much on their plates as you do. It’s a more efficient way to work, and it keeps you from being overburdened.
Saying no to things you don’t have time for doesn’t mean you have to say no to people. For instance, a close colleague may invite you out for a drink after work to hear all about the new guy she’s dating. If you go, you’d miss your time at the gym, which is a priority for you. Instead of saying yes to that drink, tell her you’re busy after work and invite her to walk over to a nearby coffee shop where she can fill you in on her new friend as you are both grabbing a latte. That’s efficient and it still leaves you able to hit the gym after work.
Write Down Your Core Values and Stick to Them
Our core values can shift depending on our current stage in life. People just starting out in their careers are going to have different values than people who have been climbing the corporate ladder for decades. To help you understand what really matters to you, write down the most important areas of your life, such as family, school, friends or career. Then rank them in order of importance. This will help you figure out how you want to prioritize your week and invest your time.
Avoid Being Sidetracked By What’s Urgent
Once you create your 1-3-5 plan for the day, stick by it. Other “urgent” things may crop up, but don’t be sidetracked. Be able to evaluate something and understand if it needs your immediate attention, or it’s just urgent because someone else is having a problem with their work. Prioritizing your day means you know what your objectives are and pursue them.
Achieving a good work-life balance is possible if you know how to be efficient. Prioritizing yourself and your work at the same time takes a little practice and a daily list of things to do, but you’ll find that self care and your career can be twin paths to success.
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