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Why a Work-Life Balance Is Important

 

Like many employees, you might have difficulty separating your personal and professional time. This may be especially true if you work from home and have a family. The desire to spend more time completing work or being with your loved ones means having less time for other activities. As a result, maintaining sufficient time to fulfill your most important work responsibilities each day while participating in family activities is important. This helps you feel personally and professionally engaged and fulfilled.

Apply these strategies to help maintain a work-life balance that is right for you.

Set Limits

Because there are only 24 hours in each day, carefully plan how you want to spend them. For instance, schedule a realistic amount of time for the tasks you have to get done. This may include checking email only three times throughout the day. Cut or delegate the activities you do not like or cannot handle. Also, put family events on a weekly calendar. Include these activities in your daily action plan. Additionally, learn to say “no” to requests that do not fit your schedule or interests. You need to maintain time for what matters most to you. Plus, take breaks throughout the day. The brain needs rest in order to retain information and function. Further, leave your work at work. Your personal time is for family activities.

Prioritize Self-Care

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps you reduce your stress level and accomplish more. For instance, focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats when planning your meals. These foods help you retain knowledge and build stamina. Also, set aside time each day for yoga, hiking, meditation, dancing, reading, or other activities you enjoy. Plus, make sure you get enough sleep at night. Put away personal electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime to avoid interference with your melatonin level that stimulates sleep. Additionally, schedule time to volunteer with a local charity once per month. This can increase your emotional and social well-being. Further, partner with colleagues to cover for each other’s work absences. Ask family and friends to help with childcare and household responsibilities when you work overtime or travel.

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How to Stay Focused at Work

 

Whether you are working remotely or at the office, it can be hard to maintain focus throughout the day. The increasing use of technology is making it more difficult for the brain to concentrate on one task at a time. Fortunately, with the right mindset and practice, you can train your mind to stay present longer.

Use these tips to improve your focus throughout the workday.

Reduce Distractions

Take away everything you can that interrupts your thought process. This includes turning off your email and text notifications, closing your social media pages, and shutting your office door. Clarify that unless there is an emergency, you are not to be disturbed during work time. You need your environment to be as quiet as possible to be productive.

Prioritize Your Tasks

Create a list of your most important work for the day. Rank each item by its level of importance. This lets you focus first on what absolutely has to get done. Set a timeframe to accomplish each task. Completing one item at a time lets you feel less stressed about what you need to accomplish later.

Focus on One Task

Direct your attention to one item at a time. The brain is not designed to multitask. Moving from one focal area to another takes time to adjust. Doing this in rapid succession results in greater errors and poorer quality of work. Instead, fully complete one task before moving to another. You will more efficiently complete it and feel motivated to move to the next item.

Train Your Mind

Engage in brain training activities that improve your cognitive abilities. Two excellent examples are meditation and yoga. Instructing your mind to be more disciplined helps you pay attention to the work you need to complete each day.

Take Regular Breaks

Schedule time throughout each day to rest and recharge. Your brain needs time to disengage. This is especially important if you are stuck on a task and need time to think through a solution. Leave your work area to take a walk, read a book, or listen to music. During your lunch hour, eat healthy foods, talk with coworkers in the breakroom, or connect with your family. Come back ready to tackle the rest of your work for the day.

Maintain Adequate Sleep

Be sure to get enough deep sleep every night. This helps you remain in your best physical and mental state. You stay alert, engaged, and productive.

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4 Tips for Difficult Employee Conversations

 

As an IT manager, there will be times when you need to address employees regarding performance issues, conflicts, or other difficult topics. Although this can be challenging, it needs to be done sooner rather than later. You need every employee functioning as a cohesive unit to keep the company moving forward.

Implement these four tips to effectively handle challenging employee discussions:

 

1. Include a Witness  

Ask a manager or HR professional to be present during your conversation. This is especially important when discussing policy violations, behavioral issues, or anything that involves disciplinary coaching. Brief your third party on the situation to make sure you understand each other’s roles and responsibilities before the talk.

2. Remain Positive

Maintain an open line of communication with a coaching style of dialogue. This helps the employee avoid becoming defensive and argumentative. Begin by asking simple questions such as “How’s everything going?” or “Can I have a few moments of your time to talk about some feedback about your behavior?” Clarify exactly what the issue is and specific examples of how the employee can improve. Include facts and data to support your statements. For instance, “I have some suggestions for what we can do. Can you share some ideas so we can reach this goal?” Provide the necessary tools, resources, and support to reach milestones for improvement and measure success. Finish the conversation on a positive note.

3. Tie the Issue to the Business

Point out how the issue creates a concern for the team or company. For instance, consistent absenteeism may mean that teammates have to add to their already full workload to ensure tasks get done on time. Or, a conflict with a coworker can make it more difficult for employees to collaborate on projects. This shows your main focus is on the company, not the employees’ personal lives. Work with the employee to create a plan to improve and a job-related consequence if they do not. Making the employee feel heard is empowering and encourages them to do better.

4. Maintain Confidentiality

When addressing a conflict between employees, keep the conversation limited to those involved. Make sure they understand that what they disclose may need to be shared with others. Meet individually with the employee you received feedback about and others who witnessed the incident to discuss their behavior. Use the information you gather to determine what happened. Work with the employees to find a fair resolution. Hold everyone accountable for keeping with the final agreement.

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How to Create a Positive Team Culture

 

As an IT manager, you understand the importance of teamwork. When your team members communicate and collaborate well, they are better able to do their work. However, blending employees with different talents and personalities can result in challenges. This is one reason why having a strong team culture is necessary.

Follow these 6 guidelines to build a desirable team culture.

1. Define Your Team Culture

Talk with your team about what your culture should look like. This is important because your employees’ actions, interactions, and attitudes impact the effectiveness of your success. For instance, your team culture may be defined by having a positive mindset both inside and outside the office. This creates a strong team synergy that minimizes conflict and increases success. Everyone performs better when they work as a cohesive group. Different ideas lead to solutions for problems. Shared visions let your team see the future.

2. Learn from Other Successful Teams

Explore how teams with proven track records communicate, collaborate, and solve problems. For instance, incorporate ideas from companies like Google, Southwest Airlines, and Zappos to develop your teambuilding procedures. These companies are among the most successful in engagement, productivity, and goal attainment.

3. Encourage Collaboration

Instill in your team culture the importance of collaboration. Use your enthusiasm, self-discipline, and strengths to serve as a guide for teamwork. For instance, trust your team members to make hard decisions when you are away. Encourage them to discuss how you would handle a situation and carry out an appropriate plan of action.

4. Emphasize Your Company Mission and Core Values

Work with your team to create a list of team values based on your company’s mission and core values. Include in the discussion what everyone’s most important personal values are. Find out whether the same values impact their professional success and whether they would look for these values when hiring employees. Also, talk about what your team would not tolerate in the workplace. Use their answers to set team standards for job performance, customer service, and related issues.

5. Clarify Your Expectations

Explain to your team what you expect from them all of the time. Examples include honesty, accountability, commitment, conflict resolution, and pride in top performance. If your expectations are not being met, privately talk with the employee about the issue. Find out what it causing the problem and how you can help. If the employee does not want to set goals for improvement, assume responsibility, or respond to feedback, they may need to find another source of employment.

6. Continue to Build Your Team Culture

Use positive reinforcement to maintain your team culture. For instance, provide real-time feedback and coaching to help your employees maintain professional growth. Also, encourage your team to get involved in local charity events. Plus, organize employee family activities one weekend per month.

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