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Struggling to Find a Work-Life Balance? Theres a Tool for That

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Academic Year Planner at House of Doolittle

Many of us participate in a work culture that prioritizes setting goals and achieving measurable outcomes, often to excess. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, in theory, it can often become distorted to the point of people becoming overworked, overwhelmed, and just plain stuck. Sometimes “powering through” is not the healthiest of solutions when trying to gain inroads professionally while holding together a personal life.  

Rather than succumbing to a path that can lead to burnout and stress, it is recommended to take some time to evaluate your schedule and responsibilities and reach a comfortable place of work-life balance. And with the new year just around the corner, it is the perfect time to look at your business calendar and other time-management tools that can assist you toward a more balanced life.   

First Steps Toward Work-Life Balance 

This is easier than you might think because it is just a matter of assessing and prioritizing your professional responsibilities. Take a hard look at your daily tasks, project deadlines, and work meetings or events. This is your foundation, which probably does not have much wiggle room on your time demands. Using your business calendar effectively is a critical tool in this part of the process.  

You have to take the time to manage your time. Sit down with your calendar and enter all responsibilities and other time commitments. This will give you a better picture of what your days, weeks, and months will look like. Since we are mostly visual learners, try adding elements that will help you remember important dates so you can stay on track.  Color code different items and indicate their priority level. Soon your calendar will not look like a jumble of information but an organized approach to every day.  

Oh Look…A Shiny Thing… 

And that is what is called a distraction. We know we have work to do, meetings to attend, and projects to develop, but we have unfortunately become victims of a constant influx of distractions that can prevent anyone from managing their time well. Some things cannot be avoided like an unexpected meeting or an emergency. But many other things are waiting in the wings, ready to maneuver your attention away from the task at hand.  

Admit to yourself that it is quite easy to scroll through websites or social media, only to be sucked into those time-consuming rabbit holes. Sometimes precious minutes can be spent just losing focus or daydreaming. This is where you must show self-control and make significant attempts at not giving in to the distractions. Once you become more mindful of what constitutes a distraction that wastes time, then you can adjust your behavior to stay productive.      

Add the Word No to Your Vocabulary…and Use It Frequently 

This is so difficult for so many people. We want to be cooperative team players. We want to say “yes” and take on new challenges. We want to be people pleasers, but this can come at a cost. A lot of us overextend and try to cram in a few more tasks, but this can lead to increasing stress and fostering an environment conducive to burnout. 

Here is an idea- make your business calendar “the bad guy” for someone who asks for a time commitment that you cannot accommodate. Your answer of “no” can be attributed to the fact that you just cannot add one task or event to your day, week, or month, but “thanks for asking.” Once you feel more in control of what you can manage and what you cannot, whether you say yes or no will be based on what is reasonable and not you wanting to please others. And the folks who ask you for your time will become conditioned to the fact that you will always answer honestly and with clear expectations. 

Personal Time: The Other Half of the Work-Life Balance Equation 

Your personal time is not just defined as “the time of the day in which you are not working.” It should mean the quality time you spend making healthy lifestyle choices, being with the people you love, and quite possibly doing nothing more than recharging our often-depleted internal batteries with rest and relaxation. 

Prioritizing personal responsibilities and events without the specter of your professional world looming in the background is not selfish and does not make you less of a “worker.” In fact, applying a similar approach to managing your private calendar as you do your professional one will yield the same positive results and make work-life balance feel more attainable and less elusive.  

Work-Life Balance: A Student’s Dilemma 

While this concept is most often designated for working professionals, it is worth mentioning that students, especially those in high school and college, would benefit from assessing their own schedules and commitments.  

Now more than ever, students are cramming their daily, weekly, monthly, and semester schedules with classes and extracurricular activities that can create an overwhelming environment leading to burnout and unhealthy habits. 

It is important to encourage students to use an academic year planner in the same way as a business calendar to manage time and set boundaries that are effective and productive.  

A new year deserves a new calendar with a fresh start on time management. House of Doolittle has the perfect calendar for you to achieve work-life balance.    

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