‘I want a better work-life balance!’ How many times have you said that to yourself or heard it uttered across the desk from a colleague? It’s the dream, surely – the ability to work hard, earn decent money and yet still have time to indulge in all the non-work, fun stuff we love.
Experts believe it is actually possible to earn too much money and that the line between your earning potential and the sacrifices you have to make in order to achieve such heady heights is dangerously thin. So why reach for the skies when you can focus instead on reaching that ideal work-life balance? It’s easier than you think; with the introduction of some clever tools, you can make the world of difference to not only your own life, but those of your team, too.
Technology surrounds us, and while it can often be a distraction, I think there’s five pieces of tech which will give you back that most valuable of assets: time.
Team communication: Slack
If your day starts with an audible groan as you open your email inbox, you need to take a look at Slack. An odd name, yes, but a brilliant premise which has proven itself to work for some huge corporations, including NASA. Slack is a team communication platform which aims to rid the world of unnecessary email – one of the world’s worst time-sapping endeavours.
File management: Dropbox
This might sound a little odd; can effective file management improve your work-life balance? Put simply, yes, it can! The days of storing spreadsheets and Word documents on cumbersome in-house networks are gradually fading; cloud services such as Dropbox enable you to store your files in a central location which can be easily accessed by anyone (providing you grant them permission to do so). Most importantly, you can get into Dropbox from anywhere and on pretty much any device, so you’ll no longer be tied to your office computer when working on that all important contract.
Project management: Trello
Take a look around the office. I bet there are Post It notes everywhere and multiple spreadsheets purporting to contain the latest progress on the multitude of projects your team are working on. Unfortunately, Post It notes get lost and, well, everyone hates spreadsheets. Trello is a web-based app which makes project management fun and, most importantly, more efficient. Again – a significant amount of both your and your team’s time saved.
Note taking: Evernote
How many times have you lost your notebook or spent what felt like hours thumbing through it trying to find that essential note you made three months ago? Well, it’s time to bid farewell to that old companion and install Evernote. The free version is a brilliant alternative to the traditional notebook and, like everything in this list, will save you considerable time which you can re-invest into creating your perfect work-life balance!
Time management: The Pomodoro Technique
I’ve referred to time savings above a fair bit, and for good reason. Time is precious and none of us have much of it to hand. The tools I’ve suggested will all enable you to claw back some of it, but the final piece of the jigsaw is the process by which you work. The Pomodoro Technique forces you to work in blocks of 25 minutes separated by short intervals. It will improve your mental agility and ensure you leave the office bang on 5:30pm!
Mark Ellis is a writer and the owner of Business Fiction, a copywriting service for businesses of all sizes. Mark’s considerable experience at director level and deep interest in personal and business success means he’s ready to comment on anything from workplace dynamics to personal improvement.