Before we begin, absolutely nobody has the perfect work/life balance all the time. However, some of us struggle with it a lot more than others. If you regularly find yourself overcommitting at work and home, then you will know the struggle all too well. We have written this guide with the kind of people in mind who want to please everybody but don’t have enough hours in the day.
Although we won’t be able to solve every single problem in your entire work and home life, we will certainly be able to make things feel a lot more manageable. So, if you want to take control of your life, get your pen and notepad ready as this is the definitive guide to achieving it.
Pomodoro Technique for Productivity
Our first technique will be especially useful for those struggling to meet work deadlines. Sometimes deadlines are too tight, but sometimes, we simply spend too much time off the task.
A recent study showed that the average office worker in the UK spends only about three hours working, with the remaining five hours each day spent making coffee, chatting, running errands or even scrolling through social media. Whilst this statistic might be a shock for some, if you consider your mobile screen time each day then you might be surprised at how close to this average you’re getting.
The Pomodoro technique is what we propose to help you reclaim those working hours and use them in a meaningful way. The idea is very simple but does require a little willpower. You will focus exclusively on one work task for twenty minutes, which means no emails, no conversations, no phone calls, and certainly no doom scrolling.
You should achieve an intense focus during this time, and you might even surprise yourself at how much you get finished. Once your twenty minutes are up, you can allow yourself five minutes of free time. This time should be seen as a proper break from work, so you can play an online game on this USA website, paint your nails, grab yourself a cup of coffee, or do any number of other things. Once your five minutes are over, you are back on task.
Making Time for Yourself
Now that we have conquered the demons of distraction at work, it is time to focus on making your home life count. Once you are home from work you don’t need to feel guilty for not being available at work. In some countries, such as France, it is even illegal for an employer to email their employees outside of work hours.
You should make your home time a time for yourself. Be intentional about what you would like to do that week. You might want to read about your zodiac sign one evening, meet with a friend another evening, take a relaxing bath and sort out the clutter in the spare bedroom as well. Book these in as you would a work meeting and you’ll be surprised how much you can achieve and how much richer your life will feel.
The saying goes ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’, so if you are not sleeping well, how can you expect to feel energized at work or home? For some people, getting enough sleep feels like an impossible goal to achieve, but there are steps that you can take to help. The most important is to limit your screen time before bed.
Whilst watching television in bed, or having a quick scroll through Instagram can be tempting, all screens emit blue lights, which messes with our circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythm is how your body governs when you go to sleep and when you wake up. In nature, you would sleep shortly after the sunset and wake up shortly after it rose. In the modern world, we have artificial lighting, which means we can go to sleep later and wake up earlier.
However, the real problem is blue light. This is produced by computers, television, and phone screens and it resembles daylight to our brains. Having a hit of daylight right before bed plays havoc with our ability to sleep, so keep all screens off for at least an hour before bedtime.
The next tip is to keep a diary by your bed. Many people who struggle to sleep suddenly report waking up at night and remembering something they need to do. They are too scared to fall back to sleep and forget it, so they get up and do it right away. This is a nightmare for your body, it is much better to keep a notepad or diary by the bed and write down your reminder notes, then go back to sleep.