Strategies for Balancing Work and Life as a Manager

Strategies for Balancing Work and Life as a Manager

Managers get pulled in a million directions at once. You need to lead your team, sometimes play counselor, find time to complete your own tasks, troubleshoot, stay in constant communication with your own leadership, and then also motivate your team to keep their productivity up. It’s so easy to see how burnout happens! 

But as a manager, it’s also important to model the good behaviors you want your team to adopt, and that means you need to focus on your own work-life balance. You cannot be all things to all people all the time and come out unscathed if you’re not taking care of yourself and establishing some good, reasonable boundaries. 

Here are a few tips on how to make it all work. 

  1. Know when to tap out. We all get stressed out at work from time to time. There are also days when stress from home creeps into the workplace. You’re human; that’s ok! When you feel your shoulders start to rise and your patience start to falter, know that it’s time to step away. Learning how to manage your emotions and stress level will help you better address difficult interactions and moments and will help keep your team calm in the process. It can be as simple as closing your door and taking several deep breaths for a few minutes or walking away from your desk to get some water and stare out a window. Anything to hit the reset button and slow things down. 
  2. Organize your day. The better you learn to manage your time and prioritize tasks to complete the most important ones first, the more productive you’ll be and the less stressed you’ll feel. Start each morning with a to-do list that includes blocking off time on your calendar for those little tasks that become distractions, like answering emails and messages. If you have a day full of meetings, find 10 minutes in there somewhere to walk around and get some water. You need breaks to stay sharp! 
  3. Separate your worlds. If you aren’t on a major deadline that requires working after the business day ends, leave your laptop at work. Turn off your work phone. Keep your work responsibilities separate from your home responsibilities. Don’t let them mix unless it’s absolutely necessary or a true emergency. Even then, do your best to limit the time you spend thinking about work at home — work gets 40 or more hours of your week; the rest of the time belongs to YOU. 
  4. Be flexible. Do you need to start late one day to take care of a personal item? Do you need to leave early to make a doctor’s appointment? Realize that the world will not end if you have to flex your hours a little bit. The work will always be there. Take care of the things that matter — stepping away for an hour or so, coming in early or late to address something important, none of that will make things fall off the rails. 
  5. Hire people you trust. The best managers are great at recognizing talent, setting them up for success, building their confidence, and then giving them room to grow by taking on responsibilities and tasks that are currently on your desk. Delegating keeps everyone’s workload manageable and helps train your team to cover multiple areas of responsibility, creating a really strong system with failsafe and coverage when someone’s sick or out on vacation. It’s a confidence-building way for your team to feel empowered while you can reduce your own stress a little. 
  6. Set and respect boundaries. If you tell your team they shouldn’t check their work messages after hours, you should follow the same orders. If you say you cannot be reached after 6 p.m., don’t answer your work phone. If you’re going away on vacation, set an out-of-office message, and don’t check your email. If the sky starts to burn, your team will know how to reach you, or they’ll find a way to handle it themselves. It will be ok! Setting good boundaries and sticking to them also shows your team that they can do the same without fear of repercussions. 

Establishing a solid work-life balance is something you have to consciously protect and nurture in order to achieve. But it’s doable! Prioritizing this in your life will benefit your team as well, helping everyone keep burnout at bay while reducing stress and increasing productivity. It’s a win for all! 

If you’d like more advice on this, or if you’re looking to add to your team, call SmartTalent. Our experts can help find just the right people to join your organization with the background and experience you need, and working with a recruiter helps take one more thing off your to-do list. Call SmartTalent today, and let’s get going!

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