It's easy to say you want a better work-life balance, and many women in the workplace would agree this is a high priority, but how do you actually achieve it?
We spoke with Helen Miles - Group Commercial Director at Severn Trent Water Plc and Liz McKenzie - Chief Operating Officer at The Wesleyan to get their advice on how best to change focus and ensure you have a better work-life balance.
This seems common sense to many women in the workforce, but it's frequently easier said than done. Know what is most important to finish, the "business critical" work, and also what can wait until you have the time. Not all responsibilities will carry the same weight so make sure to set your priorities so you can focus on urgent matters.
This doesn't mean you can't re-evaluate your priorities along the way. Ad hoc work will always come up, which may change those priorities, but you will be better prepared for these.
"Make sure to be really disciplined in what is a priority and what is not. Without this distinction it can be easy to be pulled in many directions, and work can pile up. Having clear priorities for a period of time, or for a project, allows you to use the other time you have outside of those priorities more wisely," said Helen.
If you are in a senior position, you are only as strong as the team you are working with so invest in their skills and their development.
When you have a team you can depend on, if you are away from the office, you will feel more confident delegating work and leaving when needed.
You will also worry less while you are away from the office so can be fully focused other activities that don't involve your job.
Organisation plays a big part in allowing you to achieve a healthy work-life balance. When you know what you are doing and your goals, you can better prioritise your day.
Liz shared, "I document everything. I take notes of what I am doing and where I am at with things, that way when I set a project down next time I pick it up to work on it I know exactly what I was doing and where I was up to. I don't waste time retracing my work."
"It doesn't have to be written documentation, many people do it in their calendars or on their phone. However you choose to do it, documenting things will help cut down on the time spent back-tracking to figure out where you are up to."
Stand by the choices you make and the work you are producing. When you second guess yourself you may spend time going over everything multiple times, cutting into the time for you to work on the next project or leave the office.
This works the alternative way too, if you make the choice to prioritise something in your personal life and can't focus that time on a work project, be confident in that choice and know that the work will still be there. If you are in a senior position, you are only as strong as the team you are working with so invest in their skills and their development.
For many senior professionals this runs parallel with knowing their priorities and being confident when they choose something in the "life" category that takes precedent over something of little priority in the "work" category.
It is easy to create additional time in your schedule by making the slight changes above but make sure to also prioritise yourself. Don't just fill free time with additional work commitments.
Make sure to set time aside to refresh yourself. Do something you enjoy that focuses on just you or your family and friends. Take a long walk. Read a good book. Finally make it to that gym class or wine tasting event you've been dying to try. Join a sporting team. Watch your guilty pleasure TV show. The list is unending, find what invigorates you and allow yourself time to do that.
Focusing time on you will help you relax and in turn perform better at work. You can be 100% invested in work when you're there, knowing that later in the week you have the time to do something else you enjoy and turn the professional side off. Its okay, and even encouraged, to take some "me time" to feel fully balanced.
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