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Archive for the ‘Work-Life Balance’ Category

Four Strategies for Working Smarter

Work-Smarter-Not-Harder

Here is a great post from Hillary Chybinski about how she improved her work life. Enjoy!

My One Little Word for this year is Journey. One of the journeys I am taking is making smarter work decisions. I’m a WAHM these days – splitting my time between blogging, writing and online content creation and independent marketing/social media consulting. Anyone that works from home knows that there are special challenges and obstacles to overcome. In hopes of getting a better foothold on that elusive work-life balance, I have vowed to find ways to work smarter.

To kick off the new year, I have implemented a few new strategies, and after three weeks, they are working well. Let me share my strategies with you:

Strategy 1: I’m using a MomAgenda as a combination Editorial Calendar/To-Do-list. It has enough space to track my schedule, my kids’ schedules and work I have due for clients. It also provides a canvas for me to plan my blog’s editorial calendar, so both organic and sponsored content get scheduled. Bonus with this system? There’s a Weekly Dinner Menu space for my meal plans! Here’s what I have learned about myself and my work habits – I need to write things down with a pencil and paper.

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5 Ways to Work Smarter & Be Happier

 A great guy named Andrew has some great advice for you workaholics out there.

I’m a self-diagnosed workaholic. It’s perhaps too strong of a term, but I derive most of my energy and satisfaction from getting things done. As many other self diagnosed workaholics will tell you, it’s not as much about being busy, as it is the feeling of success and accomplishment after achieving or overcoming something. There are real dangers to this (just read about the regrets of the dying) if you let it overtake you. Personally, I want to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done AND the experience of life without regrets. From my own failures I’ve learned some practical tips to work a little bit wiser, bring down the stress level and make daily steps towards living better.

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Tips for Working Smarter

Here’s an excerpt from “Strengthen Your Immune System” originally from Reader’s Digest Canada.

10 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Feeling overwhelmed at work? Here are 10 tips to help you stay on top of your work and in charge of your life.

A major problem for most people is having too much work and not enough time to do it. One solution: fine-tuning your time-management skills. By using your working hours more efficiently, you attack stress on several fronts:

You’ll feel more in control, be more productive and more secure in your job.

You’ll get greater satisfaction from what you do.

You’ll give yourself more time to relax and enjoy life.

No matter how you juggle your schedule, the number of hours in the day will always remain the same. But it is possible to adjust your habits to buy more time for the things that matter most.

1. Plan Regularly  

Every night, make a to-do list of all your unfinished business and projects. Review the list, prioritize and decide how much time you need to get each activity done. Use a planner that shows you a full week at a time.

2. Prioritize  

Eighty percent of your accomplishments come from 20 percent of your efforts. So think strategically: What 20 percent of your work is the most valuable—to you and to your employer? Once you’ve identified it, try to focus the lion’s share of your time and energy in that direction. Learn to say no to non­essential demands. And don’t waste time perfecting every interoffice memo when you could spend the time more profitably on something else.

3. Delegate  

Pass projects on to subordinates at work, recruit your children to help with household chores and hire a gardener or local teenager to maintain your lawn.

4. Set Deadlines for Major Projects

Then focus only on starting to work on them—not finishing them. Instead of procrastinating, divide large projects into manageable pieces and attack only one piece at a time. Realize that many people who have trouble meeting deadlines have the unrealistic idea that their work should be perfect. Expect quality rather than perfection.

5. Schedule Concentration Time

Block out some time every day when you can’t be disturbed except in an emergency. Use that time to get the most important tasks of the day done. If someone stops by your desk and asks for a moment of your time, you can honestly and politely reply, “No, I’m in the middle of something right now, and I can’t give you my full attention.” Close the door to your office if you can.

6. Organize Throughout the Day

Remember this rule: Tuck it, transfer it or trash it. Quickly glance over every piece of mail and every memo or e-mail message you get. If it looks as if it’s potentially important, file it right away in a folder marked “pending” or delegate it to someone else to take care of. If it’s not relevant or it’s something you’ll never look at again, trash it. Handle your mail the same way at home.

7. Schedule Phone Time

Make and return most phone calls at a set time. Set aside a portion of your day, perhaps a half hour in the late afternoon, as telephone time. Let people know that this is the best time to reach you by phone and that it’s when you’re most likely to return calls. People will come to expect to hear from you at certain times and won’t bother you as much during the rest of the day.

8. Be Social at Work

Chitchat can be very important because it builds relationships and helps you stay plugged in to the office grapevine. Share a joke, anecdote or personal story while standing at the photocopier or waiting for a meeting to start. Schedule a coffee break with an office buddy. Also consider joining your office softball team or helping organize the annual toy drive or basketball pool.

9. Stay Flexible

All your careful planning will be of little use if you assume that you can’t veer from the schedule you set. You may have to spend some time handling crises and putting out fires. Or you may get on a roll with a proposal you’re writing, in which case it would be a mistake to stop just because you only scheduled an hour for it. Instead, practice effective procrastination. In other words, ask yourself, “Is putting off my next scheduled task and continuing what I’m doing an intelligent decision, or is it just a delay tactic?”

10. Plan Ahead

Start your workday right—at home the night before. After dinner, pack your lunch for the next day, while you’re already in the kitchen. Lay out the kids’ clothes and your own and pack your briefcase. Then spend a pressure-free hour or more doing things you enjoy before bedtime.

[end of article]

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Healthy Advice for Balancing your Work and Life

Here’s a great article from Lindsay Olson on balancing your life and work, originally posted on Yahoo Canada Finance on May 29, 2012.

9 Tips for Work-Life Balance

Many of us work too much, and it’s hard to find the time for the after-hours activities we enjoy. Is it possible to balance the teeter totter of work and life? Maybe not, but here are nine tips to help you try:

1. Be 100 percent where you are. It’s easy to keep thinking about that project you’re working on long after you’ve left the office. And we’re all guilty of sneaking out our phones to check work email during dinner. But by doing so, we let work take up more space than it should in our lives. Make an effort to leave work in the office, physically and mentally. Decide when you are shutting off and then actually do it.

2. Be more organized at work. One major reason many of us bring work home is because we constantly close out the day in the middle of a project, which makes it difficult to mentally leave it behind. Set up tasks on your calendar to finish projects or get to a stopping point each day, and prioritize what’s most important. That way, you leave the workday feeling complete and ready to relax.

3. Find hobbies. Many people simply don’t know what to do with free time. If you haven’t had hobbies since high school, it’s time to find some. Explore sports, crafts, outdoor activities, or reading as a way to unwind. Take a class or attend a seminar about a topic that interests you. You might even learn something new.

4. Plan your week. Not allotting time to handle chores and cook can make for a rushed work week. Cook a batch of food for your lunches on Sunday, and designate a half-hour each day to work on chores. That way you’re not overwhelmed with housework on the weekend, which frees you up for more leisurely pursuits.

5. Enjoy your family. When you’re focused on work, it’s easy to grow distant from your family. Small efforts–such as eating dinner as a family during the week–make a big difference.

6. Learn to say no. If you’re feeling like you’ve over-committed to coaching soccer, singing in the choir, and volunteering at the library, then back off of a few things. Life is too short to commit to meaningless extracurricular activities that you’d rather avoid. Assess your activities and if anything starts to feel like a chore, decline politely.

7. Institute a digital free zone. It can be hard to turn off the computer, tablet, and smartphone, but doing so will help you clear your head and connect with others. Designate one room or small space in your home where you can’t update your Facebook status, answer a work email, watch a YouTube video, or tune into the nightly news.

8. Exercise. Keeping your body fit and healthy is key to being happy in work and at play. Find exercise that you enjoy, and fit it into your routine. Consider finding activities you can do with your family, such as taking a walk together. While fitting the time into your schedule may seem difficult, you’ll find yourself with more energy to be productive at work and home with a regular exercise routine.

9. Be selective with your errands. Sometimes we can spend all of our free time running errands or doing chores. Perhaps you can hire a cleaner to come every few weeks to do the deep house cleaning or hire the kid down the street to mow the lawn. You can order almost anything online these days rather than spending your free time picking everything up in person. Even on a tight budget, you may find outsourcing some of these tasks worth the time you’ll have for yourself.

Maintaining a balance between work and life takes effort. It’s a conscious choice you need to make.

[end of article]

Having trouble making ends meet or dealing with an unexpected emergency? Learn about the pros and cons of short-term loans.

Work-Life Balance Quiz

From CAMH (Canadian Mental Health Association)

Do you find it difficult to balance the different roles in your life? If so, you’re not alone – 58% of Canadians report “overload” as a result of the pressures associated with work, home and family, friends, physical health, volunteer and community service.

Take this quiz to see if you’re in balance.

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