Most of us periodically need to reset our approach to balancing or integrating work and life. If you are returning to the office and feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, here are a few tips.
- Reset your schedule
Many who began working from home in recent months replaced the time they would have spent commuting, walking to and from meetings, going to lunch with colleagues, and attending kids’ and other non-work activities … with more work. If this is you and you’re now back in the office and re-engaged in evening and weekend extracurriculars, it’s time to restructure your schedule. Be realistic, consider work and non-work priorities, and don’t short-change what you need to be at your best.
- Work in ways that energize you
Feeling fatigued from non-stop video meetings? Shake it up with a phone meeting, a walking meeting or an in-person meeting. Several leaders have told me lately how energizing it’s been to meet in-person again. They are now deliberately inserting face-to-face meetings into their schedules – not just with an eye towards efficiency but also with an eye towards staying energized.
- Be ruthless with your calendar
We know the pitfalls of trying to manage work reactively according to what comes into our email inboxes. Yet many of us can fall into reactive mode in managing our calendars, too. When I hear senior leaders talk about being slammed in meetings all day, they often talk in a way that seems like they have little or no control. Even when others have access to your calendar availability, you likely have more control than you think you do over who schedules what on your calendar when. Pro tips here include:
- Require an objective and agenda for a meeting before you accept it.
- Choose not to attend a meeting or choose to attend just part of the meeting.
- Send someone else on your team to the meeting. And/or get a quick update afterwards from someone who attended.
- Where it makes sense, ask them to record the meeting. Then listen later at a convenient time and at a faster playback speed.
- Block time proactively and regularly on your calendar for strategic planning, heads-down work, preparation before key meetings, checking emails, taking a break for lunch, exercise, etc.
- Leverage an administrative assistant to align on ‘calendar management rules’ and rely on that person’s help to plan and protect your calendar.
Returning to the office and returning to in-person activities away from home are great opportunities for a proactive reset. It’s on us to set the pace and approach for our work and lives so we stay not only productive but energized, too.
Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, he helps leaders and teams stay energized while achieving extraordinary relationships and results that matter. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr.