Time management: The Elusive Work-life Balance

Work life balance

Written by Ash Richardson

20 years digital tech and strategy experience, including co-founding #team, Accenture, MP of Oyster Partners (now DigitasLBi) and ex-VC investing in technology startups. Unique skills on product strategy, design and offshoring.

The Elusive Work-life Balance

Have you always wanted to be effortlessly efficient and constantly in the zone? Work-life balance is easier than you think.

Do you find yourself not quite achieving what you want to each day?

This is a common trait, especially among high achievers. There are so many things we want to get done and we tend to throw ourselves into the day’s work without:

  • calculating the total estimated time across all to-do’s for the day
  • comparing that to the available time after meetings and other commitments
  • factoring in a reasonable allowance for unplanned interruptions

We then find the day goes too fast and at day’s end, there is still more we want to get done.

Do other people and unplanned things disrupt your day?

Understanding the “unplanned time” for your role is key to mastering time management.

For example, if you work in HR you may need to allow at least 120 minutes per day for unplanned interruptions from the executive, your colleagues and the employees you serve.

Whereas if you work in a deep R&D role, you may find that you only need to allow 30 minutes per day for unplanned interruptions.

For most roles, unplanned time will vary by day of the week.  For example, most CxO and team leader roles need to allow for more unplanned time on a Monday, and less on a Thursday or Friday.

Do you find yourself procrastinating, especially when working from home?

There are many factors to this and this article won’t cover the complex topics of life goals, career aspirations or how satisfied you are with your current role, remuneration and progression.

At a time management level, what you need to help you solve procrastination are:

  • setting weekly priorities that guide what you will focus on each day
  • understanding your capacity and planned allocation of time, before you start each day
  • proactively factoring in allowances for quick to-do’s and unplanned interruptions
  • keeping you on track during the day

The (Work-Life) Balance Framework

Work life balance

Let’s talk about this concept of work-life balance. If you look at the work items in the image above, you’ve got all of this pulling on your time. Interestingly, it’s kind of a similar list to what’s pulling on your personal time. That is, the mechanics of managing time can be similar for each.

Balancing one against the other is also around proactively managing your capacity. The latest trend is to think of them both together, solving them together in a way that balances the two, so that you remove your stress, get what you need to get done, be productive and feel great at the beginning, during and at the end of each day.

To learn more, you may register for a FREE webinar on time management, productivity & work-life balance to Change Your Life Overnight and Live with Less Stress!

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