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Find The Balance – Work Smarter, Not Harder

Posted on 8/07/2020 by Emma Brennan

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In an attempt to be successful we try to keep pushing ourselves, often taking a tough approach. 

“Keep going”, “One more call”, are concepts ingrained in our mind, the more we push ourselves, the tougher we are and the more successful we will be. This approach, however, can be counteractive to our overall progress. By continuously pushing ourselves to power through on caffeine-fuelled adrenaline, without taking the time to recover will without a doubt lead to burnout. According to a report by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, this type of burnout is costing companies $62 Billion a year. The work ethic that creates this burnout needs to be recognised by both companies and individuals themselves in order to be more productive.

Recovery is one of the most important aspects for us to be successful in our careers. You know when you finish work at 5:30 and head home, you would think we would have “stopped working”. Unfortunately, this is not the reality, most of us will then sit on our phones on LinkedIn or emails feeling unable to unplug. Double checking that you sent that report to management or vent to your partner about your day, only to lie in bed and start to think about the day ahead tomorrow as you remind yourself to call your client first thing. This does not leave much time in your day to switch off but this is the reality of how many of us operate on a daily basis. 

What can we do to ensure balance while we also stay driven in our aim to become successful in our respective industries? It is important to also ensure we stay fit mentally as well as physically to help us be more productive and reach our goals. I myself find the work/life balance difficult and I am guilty of the actions I have condemned above. I believe this is a problem many people face especially in this technological age where our lives are on our phones and our working world is now so accessible making it even more difficult to unplug.

So, It's time to start emphasizing the importance of recovery time. Some suggestions to reach a more balanced work-life are as follows. 

  • Make lunch-time a ‘work-free zone’, set restrictions on your phone to only be able to access work-related apps around your work hours. 
  • Have a designated workspace that can give you a more flexible schedule, do not spread yourself thin and make sure to carve out personal time to reset and recover. We must prioritise this and really stop to take the time to recover, whether it's for a quick walk rather than grabbing a coffee.
  • Don't discuss work-related issues while home or with family. Work is difficult, it can be draining, that's why it's called work.

I count myself extremely lucky to work for an organisation which has tried (and succeeded) to tackle this issue through their implementation of a Four Day Week, which has resulted in an increase of productivity of 27% since its implementation. By giving staff a 3 Day Weekend, it gives them more time to recover and #BeBloodyBrilliant at work better during the week. But by taking the time to recover correctly our work becomes more. It becomes a career. A passion. We should all be trying to work smarter rather than work harder.

Thank you for reading.
Emma