In any given workplace up and down the country you’re sure to find those modern office heroes capable of multitasking their way through the most hectic of days. With superhuman skill they can clear their inbox, arrange meetings and phone home with childcare instructions all at the same time. Yet catch them for a quick chat by the coffee machine and the talk will turn towards the stresses and strains of balancing the demands of work and home.
Sound familiar? If so, help could be at hand. Start by reading the following six signs that your working harder than you should be with quick fixes that could help.
1. You’re Committing to Memory Rather Than Pen & Paper
Make sure you commit all scheduling, ideas, conversations and activities to pen and paper rather than just to memory. Once it’s down on paper it’s out of your head. Also, note the actions you will need to do for each task to help you keep on top of what needs to be done and by when. This will help you to reflect on your priorities and better understand how you are spending your time at work.
2. You’re Not Reaching Out
You’re not superhuman so don’t expect to have all the answers! Finding someone with experience in your field to act as a mentor could help you keep sane and enhance your skills, knowledge and abilities. A mentor can be a source of priceless advice and career guidance as well as a source of vital motivation when the going gets tough.
3. You’re Non-Stop Multitasking
Non-stop multitasking can have a negative impact on your productivity and the quality of your work. Creating a time-management system will help make you more effective. Plan your day by assigning blocks of time for certain activities – create a slot to clear your inbox rather than responding immediately to every new message when you get it. And don’t forget the big picture stuff too! Set time aside during the week to catch up on the past seven days.
4. You’ve Picked the Wrong Job
Every organization has a unique culture, which can influence everything from what to wear to when you should start and finish your work day. Choose a company whose values and style chime with yours. If you need flexibility and a creative environment, for example, you may be happier working for a public relations agency than with a financial management firm.
5. You Don’t Have Backup Care
It’s understandable that your children will be on your mind during work. If your regular nanny calls in sick or school is closed, make sure you have backup care in place so that your children are taken care of. This will alleviate your at-work anxiety and let you focus on the job at hand. Choosing the right nanny, day care center or babysitter and having a solid backup plan is a must for managing the work-life juggle.
Learn about your 5 Options for Backup Care »
6. You’re Letting Stress Get The Better of You
Stress is inevitable, so it’s important to manage your stress. Knowing your stress triggers and having a plan to alleviate them will help to relieve the pressure at work and allow you to feel happier, more energized and more successful. Ask yourself if you are reacting strongly because you feel you have no control and give yourself time-outs to reflect on the source of the stress and possible actions you can take (like asking for help). Taking work home can increase stress levels as it lets your job invade your private time with your family. Find a system you’re comfortable with to park tasks you can’t do immediately but which you can check on periodically.
Not every work day is going to be as smooth as silk. Just as the copy machine breaks and the school nurse calls about a lice epidemic, deadlines are bound to come out of left field. Handling it all with aplomb may not always be easy, but forging good work habits and putting organizational systems in place will help you ace your office life and preserve your energy, sanity and sense of humour.
Got some more tips and advice? Share them using the comments box below.