You can probably tell by the title of this post that we're about to dish some advice on how to maintain a healthy work life balance. We don't want to come across as patronizing. We all know that maintaining such a balance is good for our physical and mental health, as well as our careers. Yet according to recent statistics, most American workers aren't getting the message.
A recent study found that Americans work more weekends and nights than people in other industrialized countries. One in eight US workers works more than 55 hours a week for an average full-time workweek of 47 hours. Of course, in many instances, American workers may have no choice in the matter. The sad reality is that if they don't work 47 hours a week, their boss may find someone else who will (even though studies have shown productivity dips when workers are over-extended.)
At any rate, we'll stop our preaching and instead try to be a bit more productive. Here are seven life hacks — some obvious, some not so obvious — to maintain a good work life balance.
Set limits. It may be difficult at first, but be disciplined. After 8 pm, for example, turn off your cell phone. Don't check work e-mails. Block out time in your day that is exclusively non-work related and stick to it. You'll find that if you don't happen to check e-mail at 11 pm, lo and behold, the sun will actually rise the next morning.
Just say no. Workers are understandably afraid of saying no when their boss asks for help. But sometimes it's good for both you and your boss to say no.
Have an outlet. We don't want to get all New Age on you, but it's absolutely critical to have some sort of outlet to clear your mind and mitigate your stress. It can be yoga in the Mission or jogging in Ocean Beach or basket weaving. Whatever works. And the more stressed you become, the more important these activities are to your mental well-being.
Cut out the noise. It happens every day in thousands of offices across the country: a worker gets up from their cube at 5:29 pm, and walks out the door while his co-workers glare at him in envy or judgment. Everyone else is working till 8 pm; why is Jim leaving so soon? For all we know, Jim may be taking his work home with him, although there is possibly another explanation: Jim is productive. The more productive you are, the quicker you get things done, and the sooner you can leave. Do everything in your power to boost your productivity.
Step away from the Facebook (or Twitter, Instagram, etc.) It may not seem like it now, but if you go to bed early without viewing your high school flame's honeymoon photos, the Earth will still be turning on its axis when you wake up. There's such a thing as too much social media.
The early bird gets the worm. Similarly, a great way to boost productivity is to get to work early, before the chaos of a busy marketing day sets in. The office is quiet, distractions are minimal, and the more work you get done during these hours means the more free time you'll have later.
Communicate. What does your boss expect of you? A 55-hour workweek or a 45-hour workweek? If you're overworked and stressed out, do you feel comfortable going to them and explaining that no, you don't have a severe character flaw, but rather simply need to dial things back a bit and regain a semblance of sanity, family life, and personal space? Be open and transparent and set expectations accordingly.
What do you think? What are other successful strategies for instilling a healthy work life balance? When do you, as a marketing manager, know when it's time to step in and ensure that your staff doesn't work themselves to the point of exhaustion?
Need more tips for boosting marketing productivity that can in turn, help you and your team enjoy all that life in Northern California has to offer? Contact us for a free consultation.