The modern business environment is getting more and more competitive, meaning many professionals are putting in a ton of effort to achieve career success. It also means that working hard, long hours day-in and day-out is the new normal.
While the growing number of career-driven people is growing is great for business, it can mean not-so-great things for the overworked individual. That is why it is essential to maintain a work-life balance, as it helps to enjoy the life itself and will also allow you to be a better worker.
We all know that hard work pays off, but overworking yourself may lead to a burnout, especially if you don’t know how to relax and unwind outside of office hours.
Many people have bad daily habits that negatively affect their lives and prevent them from keeping that work-life balance. And while it can take some time to break these bad habits, being able to identify them is the first step towards gaining the right balance for your personal and professional life.
Here are eight daily habits that prevent you from keeping a work-life balance:
Did you know that 50% of the population drinks coffee daily?
If you start mornings with grabbing a coffee, it may be a good idea to get rid of this habit. Although many people believe that drinking coffee helps to become more focused and productive, it’s been scientifically proven that people shouldn’t get caffeinated first in the morning.
According to studies, our bodies are “naturally caffeinating” themselves between 8am and 9am when cortisol is produced at the highest level – meaning we don’t need artificial boosters to wake up faster or be more productive. In fact, drinking coffee first thing in the morning can have the opposite affect – it blunts the energy-boosting effects of caffeine and may lead to increased tolerance of the stimulant.
Tip: The best time for picking up caffeine is early afternoon.
Modern day professionals are pressed for time, so many are often forced to eat on the go. However, this habit can have a negative effect on your health. Not only does distracted eating lead to weight gain, but eating on the go often means you are opting for poor food choices over healthier options for the sake of convenience. Thus, eat, and then work. It’s about your health, after all.
Proper nutrition is essential to preventing health problems and, therefore, improving well-being. It goes without saying that when you feel bad, your productivity suffers.
Tip: Plan and pack your meals for the whole week on Sunday. That way you can easily fill up your lunch bag every evening and go to work with healthy, delicious food. Having a proper nutrition is an actionable way to stay healthy and, therefore, improve your brainpower to work smarter.
How many times a day do you check your email? Two times a day? 10?
If checking email is a part of your hourly routine, it’s time to break this habit, as it decreases your productivity. When you shift attention between completing tasks and replying to emails, you can’t stay productive. In fact, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to fully refocus your energy on a task after you’ve been distracted!
When you check emails in the morning, you start thinking about replies and can’t concentrate on more important tasks. Then, you need to spend more time to accomplish daily duties.
Tip: Schedule a time during the day to check your emails and refrain from popping back into your inbox at any other time outside of your scheduled email-checking time slots.
Daily routines help to automate processes and help you get more things done in less time. Sticking to a schedule helps you stay focused on completing work duties, as you don’t have to waste time thinking about the priority of tasks or shifting between them (see last point).
There are a number of time-management techniques that can help to stick to a schedule. For example, you can prioritize tasks according to their urgency using the Pareto 80/20 principle. The main thing is to plan in advance, so you’ll know what task you’re going to work on at any given time.
Tip: Prioritize tasks and stick to a plan to enhance productivity and, therefore, get more things done.
While modern gadgets allow us to stay mobile and keep in touch with colleagues and clients wherever we are, it’s a bad habit to use devices regularly.
The main reason is that people become addicted and start wasting time on surfing on their devices even if they don’t have to do it. Thus, their attention span decreases and they become less productive, which affect their job performance.
Tip: Get rid of this bad habit of checking your social media accounts religiously by keeping your phone away from your desk while you work.
Multitasking can’t make you productive unless you’re Shiva – with multiple arms that emphasize the immense power and ability to perform several acts at the same time.
Research has shown that multitasking is a bad idea. In fact, by attempting to multitask (switching rapidly from one task to another), you are actually at risk to make more mistakes and retain less information. And it leads to a poor attention span which means the inability to work hard on completing highly important tasks. Although you may want to complete small duties while being at a meeting, you’d better vacate this idea, as it’s a surefire way to become less productive.
Tip: Focus on accomplishing the most urgent task and put all of your effort into it without shifting attention between several tasks at once.
You might have heard that LinkedIn helps HRs find candidates for job positions. Obviously, social media can be used for establishing business connections, improving your brand awareness and even finding potential clients.
But, you should never use social media for private communication while working. When you’re distracted from the working process, it’s hard to work efficiently and achieve success. Moreover, as mentioned in our previous point, people spend a lot of time checking social media profiles, which decreases productivity as well.
Tip: Switch off notifications on your gadgets and block social media to stay focused on work.
To achieve success at work, you need to stand one step ahead of your competitors and, therefore, you’re ready to work overtime if needed. While it’s a chance to stand out from colleagues, it won’t help you find a work-life balance and being overworked will decrease your productivity and create the opposite effect.
The more you work overtime, the more expected of you. And at the same time, you just lose time that you can spend on doing what can help you relax and get motivated. Never work when your working day is over. It’s your private time to enjoy the life itself.
Tip: Try to work during working hours as it helps to make you a disciplined person who can keep a work-life balance. Leave work on time, and spend some time doing what you love.
If you dream about becoming a successful worker, learn from top billionaires like Larry Page: “Always deliver more than expected.”
Working hard is crucial when it comes to building a career, but you’ll never achieve success if you don’t know how to keep a work-life balance. Maintaining that balance is hard and you should find what works well for you, but never sacrifice your well-being if you want to climb the career ladder.
Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you excel in your career and create a better work-life balance? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!
Hugh is a content manager who stands behind MC2 blog. As a young entrepreneur, Hugh wants to keep a work-life balance to make the most out of his life. Thus, he’s interested in learning more about productivity hacks. You’re welcome to follow him on Twitter.