Today is the day - we say that a lot, don’t we? Yet another fun launch has been added to the chain of fun launches this year! Today is the first release of our YouTube Channel, The Doorbell. This first video explains all the love and thought that went into that name, so definitely take a look at it (HERE) to hear the full story - plus some other fun ones involving Kristen Bell, The Spice Girls, and a few more of the most inspirational women I know! I also provided 7 of my favorite quick and easy tips for improving your work life balance, so we are covering those here in case reading is more your jam! All of these tips can be put into place in a day, so you should be well on your way to better work/life balance by this time tomorrow.
So without further ado...
7 Tips to Improve your Work/Life Balance Today!
1. Turn off your email notifications
I put this into action about a month ago, after a talk I went to from by Maghon Taylor of All She Wrote Notes, and it has honestly been life-changing. For two weekends in a row, I didn’t check my emails at all. Literally, from Friday night until Monday morning, I didn’t get bogged down in work thoughts even once. And if you’re wondering why this is a good thing, let me tell you, I got so much more done on both of those Mondays than I typically do! It’s truly amazing the number of things you can get done when you aren’t being distracted by all the things you have to do! So turn off your phone notifications, and I promise the world will not end if you don’t get every email right when it comes in.
2. Put business hours and response times in your email signature
To help ease this transition for your clients, put your typical hours and response times in your email signature. This way, they can tell what to expect right from the get-go. While I’m a night owl by nature, I don’t want my clients thinking I’m sitting around at 9:30PM waiting for their emails, so I try to wait for the next morning, even if I’m up working and see it come through at 9:30! Similarly, there are often a lot of tasks involved on the back end of answering an email in this field. I have in my signature that it can take 48 business hours to hear back, as I may need to create new proofs, contact printers, or do research before responding back. Putting this in your signature sets the right expectation and relieves the pressure for you to send those “I’ll get back to you tomorrow on this!” emails.
3. Schedule out tomorrow at the end of the day
I love to-do lists. Love them. I spend way more time making them than I do actually crossing things off - oh wait, that’s a bad thing. I decided to simplify this by creating a larger calendar with monthly and yearly goals, and plan out one day at a time each night. This allows me to focus on the task at hand, and doing it the night before helps me sleep easier because I have a manageable handle on my priorities and schedule for the next day! Try to focus on tomorrow when you make your list - not next week or even the day after tomorrow!
4. Start with the hardest thing
Once I make the to-do list, my toughest challenge is where to start. Especially when day is just starting out, I find myself staring at the list and completing all the easy tasks first. All this leads to is a pile-up of all the difficult, less fun tasks, like bookkeeping and paperwork. In January, I promised myself that I would always start at the top of the list, or with the hardest, least exciting task! This way, I end up with all the easy or fun tasks at the end of the day, right when I’m starting to wind down energy-wise.
5. Answer emails only once (or twice)
If you’re not getting email notifications, you have to set aside a specific time to read and respond to emails, so that your inbox doesn’t get out of control! No one likes email jail. Set a specific timeframe for doing this, and devote yourself to your inbox for an hour or so. I like to start with this in the morning, so I can add any tasks that need to be completed to my To-Do list, and then at the end of the day, so I can report and send out all the info I’ve gathered or proofs I’ve created throughout the non-email hours in the day. This is called task batching, and it's very helpful for your productivity!
6. Take a lunch hour (or start with a half hour)
Now this one is my favorite - and I hope it’s yours too! This also applies to folks who don’t work for themselves. You all deserve a lunch hour! The American work day has increased from the 9-to-5 that Dolly Parton once sang about. In NYC, the average worker works over a 9 hour day, and that’s only the average. Small business owners are even worse, with ⅓ working more than 10 hours per day on average. I know I have worked until midnight more times than I am proud of. You deserve to take an hour to yourself in the middle of all of that hard work. I often have been in a calligraphy bubble and only realized I was accidentally starving myself when I started to make a bunch of mistakes in a row. No one can keep up efficient, accurate work for that long at time. Taking an hour - hey, start with a half hour - truly to yourself can help you recharge and reset for the remainder of the work at hand. I also encourage you to eat outside of your office or workspace. Take your lunch to another place, turn on some Netflix, get some fresh air, or visit with friends. When the hour’s up, you’ll be much happier to return to work, and I’d be willing to bet you’ll get much more done.
7. Unsubscribe from emails
This was made so obvious to me when I started following tips 1 and 5. Seeing all my newsletter emails one at a time made them seem like not a big deal. However, when you see them all at once during designated email time, you realize how much time you’re devoting to deleting the same email every day. Enjoy those that you do read (like Design by Laney emails, of course!), but take the extra few minutes to get rid of any that you don’t actively read. Your inbox will feel lighter in no time!
We know there are a million tips for improving work life balance out there, and would love to hear some of your favorites. These 7 were specifically designed to be put into effect very quickly and easily, and we dare you to try them all today! Let us know if you try any of them out, and which ones are your favorites. We hope that you enjoy all the tidbits of information coming from The Doorbell YouTube Channel, and can’t wait to share more with you.