Every week we ask a busy woman how she balances her work and personal life - and get her to reveal her balancing act hacks exclusively on Grazia’s LinkedIn page.
As digital director on Grazia, I’m in charge of every element of Grazia’s online output, from daily (and sometimes hourly) articles, video and everything that goes out on social media. It’s fast paced and incredibly fun, but the challenge comes at the weekend and during the evenings when I’m not supposed to be obsessing over work. It’s just too tempting to click on a link or a tweet and double check something and I’m in a total work hole for the next hour. So now, although I don’t define my work time as just ‘the time I spend in the office’, I do try to compartmentalise work and non-work time, just to give my brain a rest.
Weekend working is inevitable, but carve out some offline time
Although I don’t actively work most weekends, it would be unrealistic for me to expect to check out of work entirely on Saturdays and Sundays – we know our audience is online and consuming content 24/7 and how we work reflects that. But I make sure I carve out some specific time each weekend (and in the evenings) where I don’t have my phone and I’m totally offline, and I try to have one totally ‘offline’ weekend a month where someone else is keeping an eye on things so I can switch off guilt free.
But holidays are sacrosanct
I always switch off my work emails when I’m on holiday and try and turn my phone off entirely for a couple of days at least. Having a couple of days where you’re not constantly bombarded with news, Instagram posts, Whatsapp messages and just stuff is amazing and makes such a difference in terms of carving out headspace. I always switch my emails back on when I get to the airport to go home – my husband makes us leave far too much time to catch a flight, and I’d rather use that dead time productively to go through stuff with a cold beer and make a to do list so I’m not worrying about work all the way home.
Turn off your notifications
I turned all my notifications last year and it was the best thing I could have done. I was starting to feel anxious every time I looked at my phone, and I realised I was just reacting to every message notification or news alert that popped up, rather than using it as a tool to my my life easier. And on that note…
Think about what your phone does for you, not the other way round
This sounds stupid, but when I’m busy my phone becomes another thing to do and deal with, rather than something that makes it easier for me to get through my to do list. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed I try and take a step back and reframe what I want to achieve, and how I can use technology, social media and all the things that apparently stress us out, to help me achieve them. It really helps me get a bit of focus and – on occasion – reminds me that it’s time switch my phone off and bung it in my bag!
Clear your inbox every day
OK, I only do this 20% of the time, but when I do it I’m 100% more efficient. Make it a rule that you need to clear your email inbox, action delete or file everything in there, and make a new to do list for the next day before you go home. Sometimes it’s simply impossible to make that happen, but there’s nothing that focuses and motivates me in quite the same way.