“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes...including you.” Those are the words of American author Anne Lamott. Nowadays it feels like they couldn’t be truer with greater demands than ever before on productivity and time.
But as a leader, it’s important to not only understand what a healthy work/life balance is but ensure you embrace it too. Let’s look at the consequences of a poor work/life balance and how you can avoid it.
What is burnout?
In simple terms, it’s when you feel both mentally and physically exhausted. Burnout can manifest in many ways, including increased stress, fatigue, emotional instability, alcohol or substance misuse, changes in sleep and unhealthy eating habits.
Understanding the signs of burnout can help you take proactive steps to prevent it and promote a healthy work/life balance for you and your team.
How to get a good work/life balance
In order to achieve a healthy work/life balance, leaders must prioritize their mental and physical well-being. It’s so often the case that those in senior positions will try and push through saying it’s in the best interest of the company. It’s not.
One approach is to focus on stress management techniques - things like mindfulness or keeping an active exercise routine. These methods have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and give an overall sense of fulfillment.
Time management is also vital to staying on top of things. Leaders should prioritize tasks and delegate things that aren’t important. A scheduling tool is also a great way to automate planning and free up much-needed time.
Of course, productivity is important but not at the expense of your health. As a leader you still need to take breaks, have hobbies, meet with friends and family and get that chance to turn off from work.
It's essential to recognize that burnout prevention isn't just about the individual; it's also about creating a supportive work culture that values self-care and mental health. As leaders, it's important to model these behaviors and communicate their importance to the team.
Tips for getting that balance
One of the most important things you can do is to set clear boundaries between work and personal life. Don’t be afraid to mute notifications after a certain time, defer emails to the following day and arrange to have a coffee with friends.
Be willing to trust your team. Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Trust your team to be creative and lean into their expertise. Be willing to accept feedback on how to do things better and don’t micromanage through the back door.
Work smarter, not harder. Don’t do everything manually when new technology can help you reclaim time in your day. Create a Booking Page to let people meet with you instead of getting sucked into rounds of emails. Use a project management tool to track how things are proceeding and identify issues early - before they get out of control.