Top Ten Tips for...simplifying your work life
Did you know that the first week in August is National Simplify Your Life Week? You may be thinking why you need a week dedicated to spring cleaning your life, but just pause for thought and consider how busy, stressful and just full of ‘stuff’ our lives can be.
Simplifying your life isn’t just about recycling the physical clutter in your home, it’s about having a mental clear out too. Being more mindful of what makes us happy can help us all get the time back for the things we love.
Simplifying your life at work is just as important, especially if you never get to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list or find time to invest in new projects and relationships.
Here are our Top Ten Tips for simplifying your work life:
1. Preparation is key
If you regularly find yourself planning for a meeting at the eleventh hour, filing your reports late or rushing through your ‘to do’ list, then the flaw in your work life may be effective planning and preparation. Scheduling time into your diary for your regular or routine work will give you the time you need to make work run more smoothly. You could even extend this to the things you routinely do at home to prepare for work – from ironing your outfit the night before to prepping your lunch in the morning.
2. Go back to basics
If your clever filing system, colour coded emails and team meetings have slipped since the New Year, now is the time to get back on track. It’s easy to lose sight of the small, basic systems you have in place and which make your business run smoothly and simply. This could involve deleting old emails, upgrading your operating systems, booking one-to-ones with your co-workers, checking your fire safety policies and insurance or making repairs to buildings and resources.
3. Ditch your emails
If you struggle with a never ending list of emails full of actions which never seem to get done, then think about how you can communicate better with your colleagues, contacts and customers. A telephone conversation or a quick team meeting can be much more effective. Or consider using a group messaging service to cut down on emails.
4. Take a break
When you feel there’s too much to do at work, taking a break feels like the last thing you should do. But if you’re worn out, distracted and hungry then you won’t feel proactive and motivated. The best way to get your endorphins going is to get away from your desk and blow away those cobwebs with some fresh air and exercise. If you’re sporty, why not take a run or walk at lunch time? Taking time out at work to think about how you’re feeling can help you handle negativity and stress better too.
5. Don’t be distracted by social media
It’s wonderful that we are able to be in constant contact with people via social media and for many of us, it can also be a big part of our jobs to manage Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Technology means running a business is easier than ever before – but it can also be a massive distraction. When your work life needs simplifying, try switching off your phone so you won't be tempted to check your favourite news website or social media channels - until you’ve got the job done.
6. Recycle good ideas
Not every job you do necessarily needs to be started from scratch. Many of the routine parts of our jobs, such as filing reports, preparing for meetings or writing letters, will involve similar templates or sources of information. It’s much easier to find and modify your existing working practices or document templates. If you don’t have one, then why not ask your contacts within your industry if they are using something which you could adapt? There’s no point starting from a blank page if you can find a simpler way.
7. Set realistic goals
A good goal should be something that takes you out of your comfort zone and is an inspiring challenge – but it also needs to be achievable. You might dream about filing that complex report or preparing that sales pitch in under an hour, but your experience should tell you that may not be doable to the best possible standard. Setting realistic goals will make your work life much less stressful.
8. Manage your time better
If you’re easily distracted by emails or other colleagues’ activities, then put your ‘out of office’ on, switch your phone to voicemail and put up a polite ‘do not disturb’ sign. If you’re not particularly good at multi-tasking then ‘single-tasking’ will help you to concentrate and work smarter. After all, our brains can’t be in two places at once.
9. Improve your work/life balance
National Simplify Your Life Week is an ideal time to reflect on your health and wellbeing and how a better work/life balance can make your life simpler. You could encourage your employees to take regular breaks, to leave on time, support flexible working and to ban emails after hours and during holidays.
10. Reconsider your career ladder
Working towards a promotion, a better salary or the next rung on the career ladder can be a great motivator. But sometimes we can push for the next big thing – whether it’s for money, status or benefits – simply because it is expected of us. If that high powered position or more responsibility is something which will make you happy and fulfilled at work, then great! But sometimes an uncomplicated, straightforward life can be more rewarding because it means a better work/life balance.
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cHRysos HR Solutions is a Doncaster based HR training and consultancy company providing CIPD accredited qualifications, Apprenticeships, Training and HR Services to SMEs nationwide. For more information about how cHRysos HR can help you or your teams successfully achieve further qualifications, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1302 802128.