Stress in the workplace never really just stays in the workplace – 76 per cent of workers found that workplace stress harmed their personal relationships, and 66 per cent have lost sleep due to problems in the office. If you want to improve your quality of life, it sometimes helps to start on the job.
Sorting out problems in the workplace isn’t always so easy, though. Trying to stay on top of all of your work can occasionally lead to even more stress or unhealthy working hours. Ensuring your job doesn’t negatively interfere with your personal life requires a good deal of balance.
A high quality of life involves being content with all aspects of your life, so it’s important that your job contributes to that. If you’re looking to increase your wellness without harming your professional reputation, here are a few things to consider:
1. Manage your time.
Time management is the single biggest tool at your disposal for getting on top of your work without overloading yourself. Though many people aren’t aware of it, poor time management is a modern epidemic, with wasted time costing employers more than $130 billion annually.
Though it’s easy to talk about the benefits of time management in the abstract, it’s not always clear how to implement it in reality. One of the best ways to start managing your time without cutting into your workflow is with a smart calendar or time management app. Smart calendars analyze your schedule to let you know exactly where your schedule can be optimized. If you’re looking for a way to manage your time more effectively, start with tech.
2. Know your responsibilities.
Forty-six percent of workers cite the size of their workload as the single biggest stress-inducing factor of their job. Even though it’s always tempting to work more in order to clear your plate, the dangers of too much work far outweigh the extra work done with after-hours office time.
If you’re currently working a healthy number of hours a week, congratulations. Unfortunately, you need to go a step further. If you’re unclear on what your responsibilities are — or where you’re letting others’ bleed into yours — you’ll always be at risk of taking on too much work in the future. Work with others to create clear guidelines as to what your job entails and what that means for your schedule. To prevent responsibility creep, know exactly what you need to do going forward. (This is also a great step to help identify when you need to hire more staff.)
3. Avoid distractions.
More than half of workers claim that office distractions prevent them from doing their best work. Working in an office will naturally lead to a certain number of diversions, but you need to ensure that these distractions aren’t interfering with your workload.
The most common workplace distraction? The smartphone. If your phone is preventing you from getting work done, turn it off while you’re in the office or move it to a far corner, where you can get emergency calls but ignore notifications. Install an app that blocks specific apps or URLs during work hours. If your co-workers are proving to be a distraction, try listening to music or even working remotely for a couple of days. Alter your workspace so it fits your needs, not the other way around.
4. Focus on one thing at a time.
Multitasking is one of the great enemies of productivity — multitasking can lead to a drop in productivity as large as 40 percent. Even though technology makes it easier than ever to dynamically switch from task to task, the human brain simply isn’t built to do more than one task at a time effectively.
Section your work into silos, and incorporate those silos into your schedule. Set aside certain parts of the day for answering emails, other times for taking phone calls, and so on. Having isolated time blocks for performing certain tasks allows you to efficiently stay focused on what you need to do to complete those tasks to the best of your ability.
5. Don’t be a perfectionist.
Perfectionism is on the rise, and that’s not a good thing. An overly perfectionistic attitude can have dangerous effects on your mental health. Perfectionism can force you to stick with a project far longer than you should, decreasing the amount of time you have available to work on possibly more fruitful projects.
Take advantage of the “minimum viable product” way of thinking. When you’re working on a project, focus on creating the most barebones version possible before adding more features down the line. This ensures you always have something prepared when a deadline rolls around and that you don’t let feature creep stall your ability to consider a product finished. Become comfortable with good work — nothing can ever truly be perfect.
6. Keep your personal and professional lives separate.
As stressful as incomplete tasks might be, overworking is literally killing workers. Never sacrifice too much of your personal time to get things done at work. You work in order to have a comfortable and happy personal life — don’t reverse your priorities by letting work get in the way of that.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is necessary for achieving a high quality of life. Completely disconnect from professional channels like email and Slack once you leave the office to fully take your mind off work. As a bonus, in my experience, a happy personal life leads to increases in productivity back at the office.
Sponsored by Shannon Hood Financial Services Inc.