With each new year, you resolve to balance your work duties and personal pastimes a little better. Months later, you find yourself spending increasing amounts of time in the office due to an endless series of to-do tasks in any given workday.
Perhaps all it takes to ‘do it all’ from dinner dates to deadlines, is a simple shift in the way you think about and schedule the things you have to do. Integrating the spheres of work and everything else can in fact help you to be more productive and enjoy what life has to offer, too. Here are three things you can do now to reshape your current timetable and lifestyle to ‘have it all’.
1. Take advantage of technology to increase your productivity
Having a work-life balance may be an ideal that many strive for but in reality is not that simple to achieve. The clear distinction between a nine-to-five job and personal time after work is increasingly blurry in this modern age when technology keeps us connected at all times. How many times have you found yourself replying to urgent work emails after office hours simply because your smartphone notified you of their sudden appearance in your inbox?
Yet technology can also enable us to align our priorities with our schedule of errands and allow us to combine both what life and our day jobs demand of us. For example, the idea of sitting in an office in a nine-to-five job is less desirable to Millennials, a generation of digital natives who are accustomed to being constantly connected with fewer distinct boundaries between work and play. Prizing flexibility over their schedules means they are also open to working beyond traditional office hours. That does not mean they work less or more, but simply differently.
So just as you are able to reply work emails at night, do not feel guilty for spending the afternoon on your personal preoccupations. Even personal pastimes help you to relax and stay healthy, which in turn will develop you into a better and potentially more productive worker. After all, work-life integration is about alignment and harmony rather than sacrifice on either end. Additionally, modern communication tools allow you to work at any time and for colleagues to contact you.
2. Make your own perfect office space — on the go and anywhere
Different work hours may also mean that you do not have to be stuck in an office to work on that million-dollar deal. Even as most job contracts demand daily appearance at the office every day, not everyone is productive in an office environment.
Surrounded by technological advancements in their growing up years, Millennials have long been utilising technology to further their mobility and their professional footsteps beyond the confines of the office. They are comfortable with asserting their virtual presence all the time regardless of location and whether through online chat apps or telecommunication apps like Skype.
You, too, can tune in to work anywhere even if you are not turning up for work physically. This flexibility over your daily movements can even help you fit more tasks in when you are not trying to rush from the business district to your lunch date.
3. Build familiarity with your new lifestyle through small changes
Do some experimentation to find out how, where and when you work best. Do you prefer phone calls to in-person meetings, ploughing through your to-do list in the mornings or evenings, and setting up your workspace at home or in cafés?
Start changing certain aspects of your work habits to come up with an optimal mode of working. Small changes will also help to let the people around you be familiar and learn to work with your new working style. Have a chat with your line manager, your HR department and your colleagues so they are aware you would like to try out some new modes of working; they may even have good ideas on how better to assist you and, in turn, help the company.
Aside from work, certain life habits will also make this transition and integration easier, such as good savings habits so you can gain a measure of financial security not just for you but also your family amid these changes. In the long run, from family time to financial security, you can indeed have it all.