How To Achieve A Good Work-Life Balance
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Work-life balance is very difficult to achieve but it's important to ensure we are always able to perform our best at work, and yet still enjoy everything life has to offer us. Here are some tips to help achieve a good work-life balance.
Work/ life balance can often seem completely unachievable when you're a project manager. Project management training courses teach us how to be excellent at leadership, communication, methodologies, risk management and estimation - but where's the bit about getting the job done well without completely losing your personal life? If you can manage to balance your work and personal life, you will see that you are not merely 'coping' with life, you are truly making the most of it. In order to do this, you must not only be a project manager at work, but at in your personal life as well. Project management training can be applied to all areas of work and home life. So the beauty of this excellent career choice is that, out of every job role available, if you're struggling with work life balance, you as a project manager are the most qualified person to correct the issue yourself.
Here Are A Few Tips To Help You Achieve a Good Work-Life Balance As A Project Manager:
Take Your Time
Stop thinking it is possible to control everything and everyone on your project and also stop assuming everyone in your personal life and work life need you all at the same time 24/7. If you work more than 60 hours a week you are going to burn out eventually, there's no way around it; or else completely neglect your friends and family. When you do this you exhaust yourself and inevitably end up being tired at work and at home, so no one gets the best of you. Connect your work diary with your personal diary so meetings and family and friends time doesn't overlap. If you are spending too much time at work, take immediate action and think about how you can cut your working hours down yet at the same time make your working hours more productive. If you're spending too much time socialising and finding your work life is suffering for it, cut that down as well to ensure your family and friend time is about quality rather than just quantity.
Think About Your Own Milestones
You will constantly be working towards project deadlines, targets at work and various other goals relating to your professional life - you're a project manager so it's probably in your nature to be ambitious and want to advance your career. However, if you don't have your own personal milestones to work towards, you're doing yourself a disservice. Have you booked yourself a holiday or a relaxing weekend away? Would you like to learn a new hobby or do you have a fitness goal? They don't have to be big dreams, but they do have to relate to you and your personal life. Write them down on a piece of paper, stick it somewhere highly visible and hold yourself accountable for completion of your aims just like you would for project goals. You could even write out tasks and milestones you'll need to complete at stages in order to reach your personal goals. Say training stages for that 50 mile cycle you have always wanted to do.
Get Your Priorities Right And Start Delegating!
Are you completing each and every task at lightning speed on your own when you could simply be completing the most important tasks first and delegating the others to members of your team – don't forget that projects succeed because of the whole team not a single dedicated project manager? Are you putting pressure on yourself to do all the tasks that you can do yourself? You must remember your project management training and recognise it is not your job to complete all of the tasks – you need to take a step back and be more of a facilitator. In fact, a huge part of your job is to delegate and then lead and steer the team to success. If you are focusing on completing all of the tasks yourself, you're not going to have the energy or clarity of mind to be able to successfully manage your team as you should be. Prioritise tasks, delegate them accordingly and then any you do yourself, put a time limit on them to pass them over to a team member if they haven't been completed by that time. Remember that one of the best ways to motivate team members is to give them challenging opportunities and if you truly believe that no one else on the team has the experience or capabilities to complete certain tasks then maybe they could benefit from some training.
Use All The Resources Available To You
Use calendars, project management tools and apps, notebooks and connections with colleagues - whatever you can make use of to balance your work and your personal life. There are so many resources available to you - use them. Do not be afraid to lean on people or technology because you think it appears weak or the job won't get done to your exacting standards - it isn't weak and it is sensible to develop your team. They will thank you for it.
Take Some Time Out!
Don't work through your lunch break and don't work until 3am getting up at 7am to start work again. Your brain needs time to relax and take in information it's been given. Give yourself the odd five minutes away from the desk, and make sure you use time off to relax as well. Remember a person who is exhausted will not perform as well as someone who is refreshed.
If you're feeling burnt out or exhausted, it's time to do yourself a favour and take a step back to re-evaluate things. You only get one shot at life, don't waste it being unhappy and tired - you're probably only a few small steps away from achieving balance and the difference between living and thriving.
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