Productivity + Work-Life Balance: How They Go Hand-in-Hand

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There’s a lot to be said for taking a 15-minute stroll to get a coffee or forcibly removing yourself from your desk to have lunch with a friend, on a day when you truly believe you need every second of your working week to get things done. News flash: you don’t.

Research shows we are more productive, more positive, and generally better employees when we don’t subscribe to the PR stereotype of 12-hour days and three coffees, because you “don’t have time for lunch.”

In fact, a study from Stanford University reveals that overworking led to less output than what we would produce in a standard 40-hour work week. Those working longer weeks often experienced stress and fatigue, and in some cases, were so fatigued that they made mistakes in their work that in-turn took even longer to fix.

So how do you channel productivity in less time, when there are deadlines to meet and a to-do-list that seems to never end?

Take your lunch break with a friend.

Much like having lunch away from your desk – but with the added incentive of being able to unload all of your worries (such as that imminent deadline) – having lunch with a friend ensures you tap out from work. You’ll be forced to get some sunshine, take a walk and genuinely disconnect and recharge for what the afternoon has in store. You also can’t function when you are hungry, and that’s a given.

Turn off email notifications on your phone.

I know, it sounds like a sure-fire way to add stress to your life without being able to monitor every communication relating to your job in real-time, but it will make you more productive. Checking your email in dedicated work time, and only in dedicated work time, will ensure you can action and file requests accordingly so that nothing gets missed in the process of that late night email activity. If it’s an emergency, they’ll call you.

Celebrate the wins.

Birthday? Cake. New client? Cake. New staff member? Cake. You get the idea. P4 Group’s annual cake bill is probably through the roof, but it’s worth every cent for the mandatory desk-removal that sees you have a laugh with your colleagues and step back from your task for just a few moments. Fresh eyes can work wonders.

Make after work plans.

Whether it’s booking into a gym class that requires pre-payment, or coordinating a group dinner where you are cooking for friends – after-work plans ensure you leave on time, at least one day a week. If you never schedule activities ‘just in case’ you have a busy day at work, you run the risk of the quality of your work and your social life suffering.

Use your ‘wasted’ time for personal gains.

Whether you sit in traffic or catch public transport, chances are you have thought the commute to work is wasted time and have tried to use it to make business calls, to do work on your laptop, or to frantically send emails at red lights. In fact, this is the time you can do nothing and not feel bad about it – collecting your thoughts on the day, listening to your favourite song or podcast, or simply using this time to be alone with the silence. Utilise this commute as a mini-meditation to rejuvenate after a long day, leaving work at the door.

A blog post by Kate Carey, Account Manager at P4 Group.

What are your top tips to achieving work-life balance and staying productive? Let us know in the comments, or connect with me on LinkedIn