In recent months my career has taken over my life as my team is growing steadily, I've been trying to update my blog as much as possible and see my friends, family and boyfriend as much as possible. This means I spend around 12 hours a day in the office, have pretty much no time to myself and the gym has only seen me once this month (whereas I've been a regular at Tesco after dark for cheese and wine). Something needs to change before I go mad, miss my little nieces growing up and balloon to post spell Aunt Maud size proportions.
But what is the best way to tackle this without damaging my career, blog or relationships? Instead of making huge changes, I've decided to take the advice of Margaret Heffernan from her TED book 'Beyond Measure'. I picked it up after a bloody lovely lunch at Harvey Nichols with my friend Liv who is starting a whole new career next week, there's nothing like someone else taking big steps to make you re-evaluate yours.
The book is focused around company culture but there are plenty of tips in there that can be applied to work, blogging and 'real life'. I thought I'd share a few with you in case you're in a similar predicament to me but don't want to make drastic changes, little steps might be all that you need.
Instead of trying to work on as many projects as you can at once, try focusing on just one. Not only will you find your concentration, focus and efficiency increases, your mind will also be able to remember what you've been working on better. Try to ignore emails for an hour if you're in the office or turn the TV off if you're blogging, you'll find yourself more motivated to complete the task and you'll be done before you know it.
If you're in a meeting at work (unless you're leading it of course) try simply listening. You'll find most of the time you're looking for something to add to the conversation rather than taking in everything that everyone else is saying, it will make you more open to other people's thoughts. This is also worth trying out in blogger chats, take the time to read what everyone else is saying rather than looking for a chance to join in.
This isn't as drastic as it sounds, promise. In the book Heffernan champions the idea of going home from the office to reinvigorate the mind and inspire new thoughts. But if you're stuck in a blogging rut, move your work space. Whether it's heading to a local cafe (with wifi of course) to change up your environment or simply moving to a different room in your house, a fresh perspective can change everything.
Let your mind wander, you never know what you might stumble across in there. It could be the most incredible business idea, the answer to a problem at work or inspiration for a new blog post.
While You Were SleepingWhile your body sleeps, your brain goes into overdrive processing everything from the day and working on your problems for you. Scientists have been known to solve equations in their sleep so imagine what you can do. Sleep deprivation is also awful for productivity; by working for 11 hours your reaction times get poorer, after 12 hours your creativity takes a dip and after 13 hours your vocabulary is substantially reduced. The moral of this story to go home, this is definitely one I need to take on board.
Could you do one more thing to make a difference?
After you have finished something you have been working on, think to yourself; is there one more thing I can do to make a difference? Is there something you can add to your blog post to make it even better, is there something you can do to boost the morale of your team at work or is there something small you can do to make a friend's day? You'll probably find that the answer is yes every time.
I hope some of these small changes will make a difference in your work, blog or real life, I know I'll be applying them to mine. Take a look at Margaret Heffernan's site here to find out more about her career and business advice.