Discussions around work-life balance and burnouts are one of the most common. Due to the flow that the world is operating at, whatever your job may be, most industries are becoming notoriously demanding, with roles carrying vast pressure and responsibility.
To quote Nigel Marsh in his TED Talk on this topic: “Certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family“, however, to what extent are information security professionals fated to work long hours without having sufficient time for other aspects of their lives such as; family, friends, hobbies, etc.?
Here is a list of some simple practices to help you in balancing your work and life.
1. Prioritizing and maximizing your time
Throughout the day there are many things competing to grab your attention, and it can be difficult to attend to all of them. Creating a to-do list can help in prioritizing your tasks by categorizing them in different matters of urgency and importance.
Often times calculating how much time each task takes helps in the creation of your list. Even though there may be days when completing 100% of your tasks is unlikely, make sure that you do not get overwhelmed and ensure that you have a system in place to address the most crucial tasks?
2. Playing to your strengths
Decide what you want to do and stay with it. If you want to be a leader, get involved with management and strategy. If you want to be technically hands-on, then sharpen your craft.
An important point is utilizing your team. As a leader, you need to learn to delegate and hand off some activities. As an analyst, then draw upon your team and ask for support. Deploy the resources you have in their strongest areas to maximize results.
3. Having set work hours
Make sure you predetermine your work hours and stick to them. This way you will not get lost in your workload and lose track of time.
Long work hours affect both, your physical and mental health. Spending a significant part of your day working means there is not enough time to rest and recharge for the upcoming day.
4. Making time for yourself
Time management is important in all life aspects, but of utmost importance when it comes to making time for yourself during the workweek. Allocating time for your own physical and mental well-being is key. Be that a few minutes run before the start of your day, a 30-minute cup of a coffee break for your relaxation, or a few pages of a book during your lunchtime. It is crucial to give yourself enough time to switch off from your job so you can make time for something you enjoy and are passionate about. Consider how your activities contribute to your mental and physical health, career, or personal satisfaction. Take a look at your schedule and see where you can fit some time for yourself.
5. Identifying productivity peaks
Focus on your strengths. Know the time of day you are most efficient, an example would be; if you are a morning person assign tough, high-concentration tasks to the mornings. Focus on your strengths.
Some people are at their most productive and creative in the early morning, others prefer a slower start and are most efficient themselves in the afternoon.
Structure your workload around your most productive periods to reduce procrastination and the frustration brought on by a lack of productivity. As long as the work gets done, it should not matter when in the day it happens. Remember, work-life balance does not come down to a single factor. It is not simply about the number of hours worked or the weeks of vacation taken.
We all require unique support to thrive in the workplace and maintain a happy, healthy, and fulfilling personal life. Attaining the perfect work-life balance can be difficult, but taking on the above advice and asking yourself these analytical questions, can certainly get you thinking about how best to utilize your time and guard against burnout.