Tag Archives: Career woman

Should We All Just Forget About Work/Life Balance?

Does the quest for a ‘perfect ‘balance’ set us up for failure?

flip animated GIF

It’s been hard to ignore the recent debate over the issue of work/life balance. ‘Work/life balance’ previously being viewed as something for all to strive for, has come under fire of late, as a vague buzzword, void of any real meaning. The term was slammed by Kate Hilton in the Huffington Post:  ‘Is there a more over-used and empty phrase in modern life than “work-life balance”? I can’t think of one. Perhaps that’s because I am asked several times a week how I achieve it.’

Others admit that the fabled happy medium is rarely achieved by successfully juggling all areas of life simultaneously, and that placing ‘work/life balance’ on a pedestal only sets us up for unrealistic expectations for our careers and lifestyles. The situation may be even more challenging for working mothers and fathers, who all too often, view a perfect work life balance as a way to cancel out ‘working parent guilt’.

A recent Forbes article by Edmund Ingham told us that entrepreneurs should simply forget about the concept of work life balance altogether: ‘ the curse of it is, the more successful you are, the less downtime you have.’

Even recent graduates are being told that attempting to balance work and life is detrimental to career progression. In this controversial article, the CEO of Backupify Rob May states that in order for graduates to get to the ‘equivalent of the Olympics’ in their career, they must stop trying to master balancing life and work, and instead focus aim to focus their energies on the latter, ‘The rewards in the future will be worth the sacrifices you’re making now” May assures us.

In 21st century employment it appears that work and life are constantly merging closer and closer together. We work from home, we check our emails after clocking off in the evening, and often pick up work from Friday at the weekend.  Now far removed from the 20th century attitudes of our forebears, many of us find ourselves ‘living to work’ rather than the opposite. So is work/life balance a myth? Is it better to cast off the idea as an outdated concept and move on, rather than to continue to strive obsessively for an elusive harmony which continually evades us?

One solution is to stop aiming for a perfect harmony between work and life, instead setting up a system of rough boundaries to limit the crossover between work and life. This might mean refusing to check your email after 7pm, or limiting the amount of time you spend working at the weekends to less than 60 minutes.

Live Well Spokesman Adam Green advocates using the ‘third space’ to improve work/life balance, which he describes as the period of time spent between finishing work at the end of the day and beginning downtime and leisure activities in the evening. He believes that a positive attitude is key to this:

‘Most people tend to dwell on the negative things in their day which can be bad news for your family who have to deal with you when you walk in the door. Try focusing on being positive and what went well in your day, what you achieved and how things will be better tomorrow’

Therefore, when understood as a matter of setting boundaries, work/life balance becomes a more tangible and achievable reality. If you do ‘live to work’ aiming a degree of separation between the two will have a positive effect on both your work and your life.

Advertisements

Easy Ways You Can Supercharge Your Productivity While Working From Home

fail animated GIF

Read our guide to successful homeworking!

Anyone who works from home regularly will know that working from home has some definite advantages…. But when your home is your office there can be downsides to working remotely.

Homeworkers might get to spend all day in their pyjamas, while slashing valuable time usually spent commuting. However, those who work from home may also admit to feeling their energy and motivation flagging as the day goes on.

When you work from home it is easy to lose track of your progress. This can lead to feeling more disorganised and out of control than you would in a regular office environment.

However, when done right, home working can be more productive than working in a conventional communal office. Here are are top tips for getting it right!

1. Make sure your kitchen is well stocked the night before! 

infomercial animated GIF

There’s nothing more distracting than having to make an impromptu trip to the shops while trying to get stuck into the day’s tasks! The night before, check to make sure that you have food for the next day, including snacks, biscuits and supplies for making tea and coffee. Sounds simple but this will save you a lot of time, and will give you more time to be productive!

2.Take some time to think after waking up

It’s oh so tempting when working from home to sleep in as late as possible, only rising to grab the laptop before snuggling back into your duvet to start work. However, you’ll find that you are far more productive when you give yourself time to think about the day ahead. Practice mindfulness and do some gentle stretching before commencing your work.

3. Write a threefold list of tasks and rank in order of importance.

This is the best method for us, and you may find it helpful too. Divide a piece of paper into three sections, one section for tasks that are urgent, one for tasks that are important, and a third for tasks that need to be done but that can wait another day. Then fill the columns with your tasks as appropriate.

4. Never have nothing to do!

eating animated GIF

This is crucial. The moment you feel as though you aren’t busy, your motivation levels will drop, and instead of spending time being productive you will end up spending time trying to invent things to do. To counter this, create a list of tasks that always need doing, for example, filing, organising, or writing ‘evergreen content that you can use at any point.

5. Keep a log of everything you do 

By keeping a record of all the tasks you have accomplished, you are less likely to feel as though you are losing focus. Choose the hardest tasks first and tackle them early in the morning so your stress levels decrease in the afternoon.

6. Consider relocating to a ‘Coffice’ in the afternoon 

A change of location can do wonders for your productivity, and after a morning of hard work you deserve to treat yourself to a coffee and a cake! Use this time to catch up on admin, update your social media accounts and take stock of what you have achieved, and what you mean to achieve the next day

coffee animated GIF

Minding the Employment Gap- What Not to Do

Mind the gap

source

1. Do not anticipate the worst

In the past, employment gaps were viewed by employers as discouraging, an indicator of unreliability. However, after the recession, employers have been forced to change their perspective, resulting in career gaps ceasing to be seen as an insurmountable blot on a candidate’s CV. While it is true that stigma around employment gap remains, employers are increasingly flexible and understanding when it comes to periods of unemployment or underemployment. Currently, the UK is in the midst of a shortage of skilled candidates, so it is likely that employers will be able to overlook gaps in your CV as long as your relevant skills and experience are evident. We find that many employers adopt the same philosophy as the entrepreneur James Caan

‘Personally, I am always more interested in the abilities and characteristics of an individual- if they haven’t been in work for a while but they have the quality my company needs, I will hire them’

2. Don’t be unprepared

That being said, it is unrealistic to expect that employers will not be curious to know why you were not in work for a period of time. Do not try to lie or bluff your way through the interview. It is far better to prepare for a grilling that you answer will appear natural and honest. Remember, your ultimate goal is to convince your interviewer that you are a genuine and dependable candidate. Make sure that you are well prepared to deal with the tricky questions so that you are able to convey a positive image consistently throughout the interview.

3. Don’t assume that what you were doing wasn’t valuable

A common fear amongst candidates who have experienced gaps in their employment is that potential employers will view career gaps as a sign of irresponsibility and a lack of commitment. However, in many cases, employment gaps have been spent doing valuable unpaid work, which has enabled the candidate to expand upon their existing skillset. Perhaps you took a career break in order to bring your children up. Maybe you were travelling or took a sabbatical year in order to develop and grow as an individual. All of these activities add value to you as an individual, so you should not assume that employers will take a dim view of your career gap. Put a positive spin on your employment gap by explaining the skills and experience that you required during this period.

4. Do not automatically opt for a standard CV

Nowadays, there is no reason to choose the default chronological CV when there are other resume options which may play to your strengths better. Go for a skills-based CV in order to showcase your diverse skills and experience in a way which will downplay your career gaps. If you do this effectively enough it is possible that your interviewer may not even notice that you have experienced periods of unemployment. Here is some help and advice for building a stellar skills-based CV

How to Network Effectively

Without coming across as fake!

Marie Forleo is an American personal development trainer and presenter. Within this short video she lists her key points to bear in mind in order to make meaningful connections whilst networking, avoiding coming across as fake or insincere:

Marie Forleo via Youtube

1. Focus on giving versus getting

2. Be present

3. Listen more than you talk

4. Think long-term vs. short-term

5. Do not over-commit or feel guilty

6. Be honest

7. Take action immediately

8. Only go to things that excite you

How Employers Can Aim to Build a Loyal Team

Earning the Respect of Your Employees Now Will Pay Off in the Future!

When leading a team of individuals, it is important to remember make each member of your team feel useful, valuable and necessary to the functioning of the group as a cohesive unit. Here are some points all employers should bear in mind when dealing with when negotiating with their staff.

We’re all familiar with the cliched ‘boss from Hell’ trope, take action now to make sure that you’re not comparable with this stereotype!

badboss

Source

devil wears prada

Source

This guy is my hero.

Source

A Little Bit of Freedom Goes a Long Way

Giving your employees leeway to do their own thing allows them to showcase creative freedom which will prevent your staff from feeling like robots or indentured servants. Your employees will appreciate the faith and confidence that you have in them, and this is sure to pay off in the long-term future of your business

See Your Employees as Individuals

This is crucial. Make sure that you greet your staff by name when you see them first thing in the morning. Aim to raise a smile, even if you’re rushed off your feet. Thank them for their contributions and listen and pay heed to their needs and requests, including requests for greater flexibility at work! Sounds simple, but treating your employees as respected and valued individuals is one of the easiest ways to foster loyalty within your company and earn the respect of your workers.

Share your Vision

When you have a busy team of staff working underneath you, it is difficult to effectively convey your long-term hopes and ambitions. Set targets with your employees and aim to work towards this vision. This is key to creating loyal bonds and creating meaning for your workers. As a strong, unit, you will quickly stride towards your ambitions and beyond.

Keep this point in mind and prepare for major ‘cool boss’ kudos!

cool

Source