At the time, he said, “The most valuable asset of the 21st century organisation will be its knowledge worker and their productivity, whether in a business or non-business function.”
A knowledge worker in Peter Drucker’s terms, refers to the individual who relies on knowledge as their main capital resource. For example, software developers, content marketing professionals, strategists, scientists, architects and so on. How true his propositions were, for many of them are exactly as he mentioned today.
However, one thing is threatening to affect the wellbeing and thus productivity of today’s 21st century knowledge worker. Being burdened by work, competition and a drive to remain continuously relevant in their niche, the knowledge worker rarely makes out time for themselves outside of work.
As entrepreneurs, they strive for perfection, and as workers they aim to rise in their career. Either way, little time is kept for outside work because they are always hunting for the next big success.
This work-life balance problem is bigger than it seems and has the potential to ultimately burn out any promising individual if adequate actions aren’t taken. To prevent it from becoming a major issue, here are some steps to achieve a comfortable balance of work-and life in our daily routine.
Work-Life balance in reality
First of all, it’s important to know that work-life balance shouldn’t be interpreted as literally as it sounds. It is not having an equal number of work-hours and hours outside work. Nobody can ideally set up a schedule like that, besides it is not nearly realistic.
It requires fluidity; one where one aspect of your life isn’t overshadowed by another. Instead you are satisfied with the level of participation in everything you want to do.
To achieve this, practice the following:
- Set up your priorities
Goal setting is always an important first step in any endeavour. You want to set your life objectives at any time in order of importance. From work, to family, friends and relationship, you should know which ones matter most to you and deserve more effort. Everybody’s priorities will always vary.
Some people may put family first, while others consider their work more important. For some people, a relationship comes after both. Understanding how important each aspect is, allows you plan accordingly towards your overall goal. Set an order that makes it easier to focus on one thing at a time, because multi-tasking will only complicate things.
- Cherish your private time
As a business owner or fast rising executive, it is easy to deprive yourself of recreational time in the bid to serve your business or clients respectively. Always schedule some ‘private time’ for yourself because you deserve it. Imagine if you suffered from exhaustion, it could be injurious to your health, and you’ll end up not being able to do that work you are so particular about.
In your private time, set up the environment you want. Low voltage LED lights make for good relaxed lighting in office complexes. According to President of My LED Lighting Guide, Dwayne Kula, “The right lighting fixture can give you an ambience for relaxation.” Other things you could do include going for a spa treatment, playing with your kid, reading a book, or learning something different.
- Turn off your email notifications
One of the major causes of interruptions for knowledge workers is their phone, specifically email notification. In the past, PC notifications could be avoided because we could simply turn them off or leave them at work/house when we go outdoors. Today, the phone is a major part of our life and we can receive email alerts while at dinner with family.
Brendan, at Umbrellar.com, suggests “Avoid sending emails during your private time or after work hours by turning of the notifications. Give yourself a break and you’ll realise how easier things around you will be. Remember, it’s all about priorities and scheduling, don’t allow one aspect of your life encroach into the other.
- Practice saying no
As knowledge workers, especially in our bid to climb the success ladder, we take up extra responsibilities more often than we should. There is nothing wrong in going the extra mile for your customer or boss, but you should consider moments when you let some things go. Learn to say “no”.
Before saying “yes”, consider other obligations you may have; a child’s school play, promise of dinner with someone or your personal time. It is good to do things at the right time, that way you prioritise for each objective.
Finally, leave work at work, and only mix pleasure with business if it is going to add productivity. We are knowledge workers by virtue of our modern systems and work processes. But it is important to balance both work and life commitments. Prioritising our schedule can take us faster to our goal.