Now a days people are working all the time. With easy access of laptop computers and blackberries you can work around the clock. But if you think you’re getting more accomplished by working longer hours, you’re probably wrong.
Maintaining a work-life balance is no simple task these days. While it may be tempting to rack up hours at work, especially if you’re a small business owner or managing an ever-increasing workload, your productivity could suffer.
In the early 1900s, Ford Motor Company ran dozens of tests to discover the optimum work hours for worker productivity. Through research and integrating a new schedule of 8 hour days, 5 days a week, Ford discovered that 40 hours a week was the most effective. While adding another 20 hours provides a minor increase in productivity, that increase only lasts for three to four weeks, and then turns negative.
As noted in Inc.com’s most recent article, Stop Working More Than 40 Hours a Week, we learned that in six of the top 10 most competitive countries in the world (Sweden, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), it’s illegal to demand more than a 48-hour work week.
Workplace flexibility is more important than ever now too. The 24/7 global economy, tech-savvy workers, two-income families, single parents and the increasing need for elder care are just some of the reasons workers are demanding flexibility in the way they work. And employers are discovering that flexibility pays off. Studies show that retention increases and productivity improves when flexible work arrangements are part of the company culture.
You may be wondering how do I acheive a Worklife Balance?
Here are 3 specific strategies to help you strike a healthier Worklife balance:
- Build downtime into your schedule
- Prioritize Your Workload
Building downtime into your what we like to call a “default diary” will help. A Default Diary is an hourly schedule blocking out how you plan to use your time each week. Map out on a calendar what work tasks you will do each week and when. This will not only help prioritize your workload, but also help you maintain your focus on tasks that need to be accomplished. Then utilize this concept for not only work, but also downtime such as going to the gym. Book your personal downtime like you would meetings on your calendar. Obvious ones to book in are the start and end time of each working day, visits to the gym, meal times and spending time with the kids etc.
Everyone I know who’s tried this has said they ended up happier and less stressed. And here’s the really interesting bit – almost everyone said that it had no effect on their business or it even improved the performance of their business and home life.
Lastly, if at all possible use technology to your advantage. If you can gain back some hours in your day by telecommuting then definitely give that a try. Not commuting or getting dressed and ready for the office saves chunks of time. You’ll may find you will be able to focus on work for longer stretches of time without interruption and to use the extra hours in the day to meet personal responsibilities.
Allow these blocks of times to help you make the time for a more balanced lifestyle.
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