Janice Haddon sets out her top tips for balancing personal life with the pressures of the job
In any senior management position, you’re working with a unique mix of skills – leading from the front, inspiring the team to perform to high targets, and making decisions that help to develop the organisation's strategic direction. At the same time, you have to manage your own levels of resilience to cope with the pressure points.
Successfully managing this juggling act requires a balance between your work and your personal life.
Work-life balance will be different for everyone - one size doesn’t fit all, and it certainly isn’t about an equal 50/50 split of time. The key thing is to ensure that neither area of your life starts negatively impacting on the other – when it does, that is when levels of dissatisfaction creep in, and stress levels go up as you try to keep everyone happy.
Getting the right balance for you is crucial, so here are my top tips:
Be fully present with whatever you are doing or whomever you are with. If you're spending your time thinking about other things, rather than what you are meant to be focusing on in the moment, this is when your thinking and decision making loses clarity and focus.
Develop communication and engagement skills so that you persuade people, rather than simple making rushed demands of them. This will be much more efficient in the long term: People can tell if you are not interested in them or what they are saying - and that is how relationships fracture and fall apart.
Keep a written ‘to do list’. Holding it all in your head just overloads your brain and depletes the resources you need for clear thinking. Write it down.
Be organised and develop your time management skills, so things don’t drop between the cracks. Check emails only at certain times. Your inbox is not a thing to be dipped into frequently. It distracts you from whatever else you are working on, which will then take twice as long to complete.
Get plenty of exercise. Even a brisk walk at lunchtime will raise your endorphin levels, your body’s natural happy hormones that will help counter balance any stress chemicals.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Caffeine and sugar will give you an instant energy surge, but you will crash back down just as quickly, so replace the bar of chocolate or coffee with a handful of nuts and herbal or green tea. Everything in moderation is the thing to keep in mind.
Know when to switch off from work. Make time for family and friends, laughter and fun. Find hobbies that interest you and help take your mind off your ‘to do' list.
Get enough rest and relaxation - the essential ingredients to help you recharge - so that you can perform at your best. Your body heals and regenerates when you sleep, so make sure you get 7 to 8 hours in a night.
You will always have lots of things on your ‘to do' list. The key to getting them done with energy and clarity is to build your resilience levels. You do that by being fully present, and making appropriate time for all aspects of your life.
Janice Haddon is MD of Morgan Redwood and Thrive in Life 360 and a trustee of Angels charity. With over 25 years experience in strategic HR and management consultancy, Janice specialises in stress management, high performance leadership and wellbeing.