Finding the balance between work and well, everything else, is something that a lot of us struggle with. If you’ve had a particularly busy or stressful day at work, trying to switch off at the end of it can sometimes be impossible if you aren’t taking any steps to try and calm your mind.
Your natural first point of call might be flopping down on the sofa to watch some TV (and that’s fine) but there are also some other great tips that we want to share! These can help to really ensure that you’re de-stressing and switching off properly after a manic day.
Try to leave work at the Office.....
This is, of course, easier said than done if you run your own business, work from home or if you have a demanding job! But so many people struggle to relax because they take their work home with them and never truly switch off.
Physically leaving the office is pretty straightforward, but now that we have phones, laptops and social media, it can often be hard to stop yourself from checking emails or texts or going through your work to-do list.
If you work in an office, try leaving your laptop there and not taking any work documents home with you. If you have a home office, try and create a space for yourself in your home away from your desk where you won’t be tempted to turn on your computer (more on this in the next section) and try to create a bit of a line between work and home.
Create a relaxing space in your home!
This is particularly important if you have a home office or run a business from home, as trying to ‘relax’ in the same room as your work equipment might tempt you back in to finishing off some tasks or checking your inbox.
Try and make a conscious decision to leave your stress at the front door (or in your home office) and create a space for yourself where you can have some quiet time. This could be by creating a zen space with candles or plants or allocating a space in your living room for things like reading or listening to music.
It’s also important to create the right atmosphere - dimming the lights actually sends your body a signal to wind down, so instead of keeping the bright lights on all evening, dim them when you get home and light some candles!
Allocate relaxation time (yes, you do have time)
You may of course have a string of other obligations when you finish your work day. From getting in your food shopping, picking the children up from school and cooking dinner – you may feel like there’s simply no time to relax.
This is why you need to push yourself to allocate some relaxation time, even if it’s only a quick chunk of time that you take for yourself to have a relaxing bath, listen to some music or reflect quietly – this will do wonders for recharging your mind and body.
Even a few minutes of meditation will work wonders to help you switch off (we’ll talk about that one shortly).
Take a Walk...
Walking is a great stress-buster, especially if you’ve been sitting in an office all day or if you’ve been hunched over your desk for hours on end.
If it’s not pouring with rain of course, try and get in a short walk in the fresh air before you stop for the evening to clear your mind and stretch your muscles.
And did you know that apparently an hour of walking can cancel out the negative effects of sitting all day? Interesting. Talking some time away from screens and noise to walk can be really refreshing and can help you to blow away the cobwebs and try to shed some of the stress of the day away!
Try Yoga or light yoga stretches...
You really don’t have to be a yoga pro to feel the stress-busting benefits of yoga themed activity!
Simple restorative yoga poses, and light stretching will help your body wind down from the day. A great position for unwinding is ‘child’s pose’ (lie face-down curled into yourself on the floor. Expand your breath into your rib cage and your back for a sense of relaxation. You can finish this wind-down by lying down on your yoga mat – or somewhere comfortable - with some deep breathing.
Just taking some time to move your body and stretch is great for taut muscles, especially if you carry your stress in your body. This or a hot bath will work wonders!
Without a doubt, meditation is a fantastic stress-buster and way to relax, even if you haven’t got much time. Even just a few minutes of stillness will help you ease the transition between work and home life. Think of post-work meditation like a reset button to create some separation from your different roles in life, work and home.
Certainly, if you’re looking for great work-life balance, taking time to consciously let go of whatever may have happened during the day and re-focus your attention and energy on things away from work is a great first step.
Post-work meditation will help you take control of your personal time—and will benefit you tremendously. If you don’t know where to begin, try an online video guide or an app like Headspace to guide you.
Make time for your hobby!
Having a hobby is a perfect way to unwind after a busy day as you’ll be doing something you love, and this is a great way to distract your mind. If your work is office based, then you could choose a physical hobby, such as running or going to the gym.
Equally, you could try things like writing, photography or painting. You could join a class, meet new people, or even just read at home, cook, create – whatever gives you enjoyment!
Because a hobby is more than just an activity, it’s a way to learn something new and it’s a great alternative to what you do as your job.
The more you can recharge and relax at home, the more refreshed you’ll be for the next work day!
So when you feel the need to relax after a long, busy day! Remember these little tips!
Is your career or your business in perfect order, but your personal life not so much?
Have you got a flourishing business but haven’t got time to do your weekly food shop, book your car in for its MOT or organise flights for your holiday? Or have you got a big career and no hours in the day to arrange birthday cards and gifts for loved ones, or sort out your personal expenses? You may even be so busy with family life that you need extra support with buying new household items, booking personal appointments and organising that night out with your friends.
Well luckily, the magic of a VA is that there are many, many ways they can help you and it’s not just the business side of things either. Read on…
Day to Day Life
They say that when your personal life goes up in flames, it usually means you’re on course for a promotion or you’ve just taken your business to a new level. We don’t see why that needs to happen, and with the help of a VA, you can have the best of both worlds.
Running a household alongside a busy life can start to get unmanageable without outside help. So whether it’s organising your weekly shopping, booking a cleaner or a gardener (or even finding them for you), buying household items or organising dry cleaning, a VA can help you to stay on top of the things that you don’t have time for.
If things are going wrong around the house, they can find you a plumber or an electrician or a decorator to come and fix things up. A VA can even help you to order new household appliances, research day to day queries that you might have and even manage your personal calendar!
Whatever you need done, a VA can usually do it for you – from booking appointments like car MOT’s, trips to the dentist or doctors, sorting out your bills and insurance, just send the life admin to your VA.
Birthdays/Important Occasions (and remembering them!)
Often one of the biggest bugbears for our clients is the never-ending list of birthdays, holidays and milestones that need remembering. You may just simply not have time to send birthday cards or thank you gifts, so that’s where a VA can help.
Whether it’s creating a comprehensive calendar of birthdays and holidays so that you never miss a birthday, or designing and sending the cards online, a VA can take this task off your hands.
Be it that bottle of wine to your boss, a thank you hamper to your in-laws or end of term gifts for the school teacher, a VA will make sure nothing goes unnoticed.
Having a VA who can also support you with your social calendar, making restaurant bookings, booking taxis and organising things like hair and beauty appointments, is also a HUGE plus for our clients.
Travelling and Holidays
Organising travel and holidays can also be a nightmare for someone who simply doesn’t have time to plan things.
If you need to travel overnight or for a short break, a VA can help you to research hotels and transport so that your trip runs smoothly. They can make sure restaurant bookings and shops are close by to your hotel or accommodation, and can even research and book accommodation for you, along with train tickets, car parking, taxi’s…whatever you need.
Admin for foreign travel is also often a real headache, so a VA can step in with organising flights, local taxi numbers, restaurant bookings and giving you that much needed heads up in a foreign country!
Building Trust (It's a MUST!)
We know it can be a big leap to trust someone with your personal life and affairs for your home and family. But when you find the perfect VA, you will find that they are discreet, reliable, trustworthy and friendly who will always work around you to make sure you’re comfortable and supported in the way that suits you best.
KM Virtual Office’s flexible, friendly approach works well with our clients who often, after taking that first tentative step into lifestyle management, find themselves never looking back.
Suddenly your personal time can be filled with a bit of R&R and battery re-charging, instead of manically rushing to keep your affairs in order.
So, if you have been thinking you may need a VA but you weren’t sure what they might be able to do for you, then hopefully after reading this you have a little more insight of just how valuable a VA can be.
Lack of organisation.
It really does seem that organisation is the key to, well, everything – be it your paperwork, your desk, your inbox and ultimately, your success.
As a Virtual Office, organisation is key to the way we operate – both for ourselves and for our clients! Take a look below at the some of the key ways we keep things in order.
The To-Do List
There are, believe it or not, many symptoms of not having a proper to-do list. These include missing deadlines, forgetting things, people chasing you for something you haven’t remembered to do, and often, feeling totally overwhelmed.
It’s amazing what a to-do list can do for your organisation (if you keep up with it regularly). If your days are busy and you often don’t know where to start, then a to-do list can often help you to prioritise tasks and get a better sense of what’s urgent and what’s not, and how much work you have on – versus you simply panicking about what you think you might have to do.
Simply write down all your tasks (yes, all of them) and then mark them in terms of date and priority. Whether you use a simple note pad, or branch out into an app or software (we LOVE Asana), finding a system that works for you will really boost your productivity and sense of organisation.
And ultimately, there’s nothing more satisfying than putting a big tick next to a completed task.
Emails – a hugely important part of working life. They can come in thick and fast on an hourly (or sometimes it feels like seconds!) basis and, if you aren’t on top of your inbox, emails can really mount up. When messages keep pinging in, it’s easy to get snagged by your email so often that you neglect the rest of your duties.
Equally, if you don’t stay on top of them or have a system in place for dealing with them – you can miss important messages, duplicate responses and generally be living in a world of chaos. Plus, there’s nothing worse than searching for an email from within the depths of your inbox and being unable to find it.
Organising your inbox into folders is a great way to start. Be that files for ‘work’ and ‘personal’ or separate folders for each client you have, make sure you file emails into a dedicated folder so that everything is easily located.
Instead of bouncing back and forth between email and other duties all day, schedule designated timeslots to check your inbox. You could use a calendar alert to go off two or three times a day to remind you to stop what you’re doing and focus on sending and responding to emails.
At KM Office, we use the David Allan ‘Getting Things Done’ Method, and email management is often top of the list for our busy clients.
Even with so much happening electronically now, many of us can still find ourselves swimming in a sea of paperwork, with an overflowing in-tray and a post pile that never seems to go down in size.
How much time do you lose looking for that invoice, those meeting notes you made, or an important sticky note with something useful you jotted down on it?
Instead of wasting valuable time conducting a search-and-rescue mission for your documents, at KM we very much recommend developing a solid and reliable filing system (something we do a lot of for our clients!) Whether it’s separate folders for invoicing, typing up your meeting notes immediately (or allocating time to do so before you forget), dedicating a box file to ‘useful information’ or having a very strict policy with your in-tray – taking the time to get a handle on your paperwork will never be time wasted.
You can even make use of a scanner to digitise documents and create a simple online filing system to minimise the amount of paper you must keep hanging around.
‘File, label and categorise’ is key to our day to day work at KM Virtual Office, whether you’re using a paper file or an online system. Nothing beats being able to find something quickly and so if you’re struggling with your filing systems, or need one put in place, we’re only a phone call away.
Diary & Schedule
Staying on top of your diary and schedule is really important for your organisation, not just to ensure you know what you’re doing and when, but also so that you don’t miss appointments or double book yourself.
We recommend using a calendar – be it outlook, on your phone, or a hand-held diary, to log all your appointments and any changes that happen. That way, you’ll get a better idea of how your week is shaping up and what you can and can’t fit in around your meetings.
Use colour coding to separate your work events from your personal ones so you can quickly glance at your calendar to see what’s on the agenda for the day too.
Equally important though – and something people tend to do a lot less – is to schedule yourself. As well as meetings, you can put all your deadlines, tasks and activities into your calendar so you get notifications and don’t miss anything.
You can also schedule your time throughout the day to focus on different tasks. Give yourself slots of time to focus on specific work tasks, so you have a chunk of time to focus solely on one thing —uninterrupted.
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