How to spend time wisely in the professional and personal live
Wouldn’t it be handy to have a time turner like the one Hermione used to make it to all her classes? At times it would seem to be the only solution to getting through that never-ending to-do list and creating a better work-life balance.
Jokes aside, a healthy work-life balance is all about spending time wisely to make sure your professional and personal lives support and strengthen one another. We’ve all got the same amount of time in a day, the trick is working out how best to use it.
Ahead of our upcoming event focused on process efficiency, we took some time to gather the thoughts of our co-hosts, JobAdder, and some of the great businesses we both support, to hear how they overcome the challenge of finding a great work-life balance.
1. Identify important tasks and complete them first
The golden rule of time management is to start your day by completing your most important (or most difficult) tasks first. By doing so, you hit the ground running and build momentum for even more success in the day ahead.
To start, it can be helpful to end your workday by identifying three of the most important tasks on your to-do list to accomplish the next day.
If you have a tendency to procrastinate, it can help to set a time limit for how long you should be spending on each task.
For example, you could dedicate a set amount of time in the morning to reviewing resumes and contacting candidates, being sure to move on to another task when the allocated time is up. You can always come back to it later, the goal is to build momentum early in your day.
“As the day goes by I am always jotting down tasks that I need to complete the next day - calls I need to make, emails I need to follow up on, articles I want to read etc. So, by the end of the day, I already have a list of things I need to complete and then I order them from most important to least important. I am such a morning person and mentally, that’s when I am at my best with my trusty sidekick, Mr Coffee, so I tend to tackle my projects or tasks I really do not want to do, first up!
So, by mid-morning I have already either progressed on my projects and I have the hard things ticked off my list for the day. I find that when I do this I am in a better headspace for the rest of the day and when last-minute meetings come up, I am able to fit these in because the hard things have already been done!”
- Emily McGill, Spinal Life Australia
2. Repurpose time-wasting activities
Spend some time thinking about what areas of your life are the most time consuming and how you can change up your routine and become more streamlined. For example, could you cook extra at dinner and use the leftovers for lunch instead of lining up at your local cafe? If you drive to work, try switching out the radio for an informative audiobook or an interesting podcast such as ‘The Experience Designers’, a great show about the future of work and employee experience, to help inspire you.
Another example might be to set a certain time each day to check your emails rather than responding to every notification that pops up on your screen. Being thoughtful about how you’re spending your day can help you to identify pockets of time that you could otherwise use towards more fulfilling activities such as building strong relationships with clients and candidates.
“When I’m at work, I disable the email pop up icon so I’m not notified every time I receive an email. I used to keep this on thinking I was super efficient because I could see every email come in and reply straight away, but in fact I found this distracted me from the task at hand. I’d be trying to finish a piece of work, see an email pop up then be drawn away from what I actually needed to finish.”
- Daniel Yip, WSP
3. Unplug once you’ve finished work for the day
It can be very difficult to keep your personal and work life separate, particularly with so many tools to continue working from home at our fingertips. As it is so easy to blur the lines, it is important to create boundaries such as leaving your work...at work (both mentally and physically). Unplug by turning off alerts and parking your emails to deal with the next day.
Of course, there will be times when this isn’t possible but a good way to start if you have trouble shutting off is by committing, on certain days during the week, to unplugging and being present in other areas of your life.
“Switching off at the end of the day can be difficult at times. I have timers set-up to only allow email notifications during core business hours and am sure to tick off all my to-dos each day so that I am not thinking about work later. Blasting feel-good tunes on the way home or listening to non-work related podcasts helps me to switch gears. Also, prioritising self-care at the end of the workday definitely helps me to show up better in my personal life and to be present when I am with friends and family.”
- Catherine Fryer, Pinpoint Talent
4. Ensure process efficiency
If you feel like there are just not enough hours in the day to complete your whole to-do list, there probably aren’t. But a big reason for that could be the way you are currently doing things. A great way to restore balance to your life is by looking at how you can automate time-consuming activities.
Start by listing out your repetitive or time-consuming tasks and find out if there is a tech solution that could help you. In the world of recruitment, there are multiple tech tools for every stage of the hiring journey, to ensure you can make your hiring decision fast and with the confidence that you have done your due diligence.
"Tasks such as candidate search and matching, SMS, phone and email communications, finance & payroll, digital marketing, and onboarding can easily be automated. The time that would have been spent on those manual admin tasks can better be used to get back to what recruitment is all about - people."
- Brett Iredale, CEO JobAdder.