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Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

 

Work-life balance is your prioritization of the time and energy committed to your professional and personal responsibilities. How you divide your time depends on what best fits your needs on a given day.

Work-life balance typically does not mean an equal balance of your responsibilities. As your priorities change, how you balance your commitments typically changes as well.

Your ability to achieve the work-life balance that is right for you helps increase your motivation, engagement, and productivity. The better able you are to find a healthy balance between your professional and personal life, the happier and healthier you should be.

The maintenance of work-life balance is especially important if your work arrangement is remote or hybrid. It can be challenging to enforce set work hours when your teammates and manager are not present to encourage you not to work during the early morning or late-night hours. This is why you must enforce boundaries for your work hours. The rest of your time needs to be spent on yourself and your family members.

Implement these tips to better manage your work-life balance.


Limit Nonessential Activities

Maintain a schedule of your most productive tasks as much as possible. The prioritization of the tasks that need to be finished increases the odds that they get done when planned.

Spend a small amount of time on your less important activities. These typically include checking your personal email, browsing social media, and surfing the internet. You can make time for these activities during your non-work hours.

Learn to Say No

Turn down the projects and activities you do not have time for. This may include social requests such as coworker parties that you have little interest in.

If you agree to take on everything that is asked of you, you likely will begin to feel overwhelmed. Your increasing workload and social activities can take away time from your core responsibilities or the personal activities that mean the most. This can result in increased stress and decreased productivity.

When asked to take on additional work, check whether there is room for it in your schedule. If not, explain to your manager why you cannot help out. Be sure to thank them for considering you.

Manage Your Stress

Schedule time to participate in activities that reduce stress. This may include yoga, meditation, running, reading, or working out.

Participation in activities you enjoy helps take your mind off work. It also can improve your mood and health. The better you manage your stress, the more engaged and productive you likely will be.

Regularly eat healthy foods. This helps strengthen your immune system and reduce your blood pressure.

Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs time to mentally and physically rest. You should wake up energized and productive.

Find a New Job

If you need a new IT job that offers better work-life balance, let RightStone help with your search. Visit our job board today.


Communication Strategies to Improve Team Collaboration

 

Effective communication and collaboration skills are important for your team. Your team members need to share, develop, and implement their ideas in order to solve problems and complete projects. This is why it is important for you to provide the appropriate tools and support to facilitate communication and collaboration among your team. The following examples can help reach this goal.

These four strategies can promote communication and collaboration among your IT team.


1. Provide an Agile Collaboration Tool

An agile collaboration tool facilitates team communication and incremental steps to finish projects. It lets your team members assign and prioritize tasks. This lets your team know what needs to done right away and what can wait. It also keeps them informed about individual and team objectives, due dates, and milestones. It also keeps your team on track and working toward the same goal.

Your team members can share information, see their progress, and determine whether there are any issues to resolve. They also can provide feedback and measure performance. Because the project is delivered in increments, there should be faster movement and more flexibility for planning and responding to change.

2. Use a Messaging Hub

A messaging hub collects your company’s digital messages and stores them in a cloud database. This includes emails, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone calls, Tweets, and more.

Your team can access the information from anywhere without having to streamline their operating systems or devices. They also can more easily navigate their emails to determine which messages to pay attention to and which messages can wait. Plus, your team can search for the information or files they need and determine whether multiple messages are related. This helps reduce information overload, especially when your team is remote or hybrid.

3. Encourage Instant Messaging

Your team can use instant messaging for casual conversations. This helps your team members get to know each other and find common interests. They can stay current on the latest events in others’ lives and share what is going on in their own life. These interactions promote trust, camaraderie, and cohesion. They also make it easier for your team to have serious or difficult conversations centered around work.

4. Set Limits for Your Meetings

Invite to your meetings only the team members who truly need to attend. Keep the number of topics on the agenda to a minimum as well. These actions help keep the conversation focused.

Encourage the attendees to collaborate on the agenda. This helps them understand their part in sharing relevant information or leading discussion topics. Hold the attendees accountable for delivering their materials or insights to keep the agenda moving forward. These actions help improve collaboration.

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Successful Professionals: How to Improve Your Organizational Skills

 

Whether you work onsite or remotely, your organizational skills are important. Your ability to focus on tasks, remain productive, and meet deadlines plays a role in your career progression. As a result, you need to complete as much work as possible to the best of your ability each day.

Use these tips to improve your organizational skills at work.


Create a Routine

Establish habits that give structure to your day. This helps things go more smoothly so you can accomplish more. The longer you spend streamlining your habits, the more efficiently you can reach your goals.

Schedule Time for Email

Determine the times of day to check your email. This prevents you from reading new messages as they enter your inbox. When the time comes, respond to your priority email first. Star any messages you need to get to later. Organize your read email into folders. This helps you stay focused on your tasks while minimizing disruptions.

Time Block Your Days

Plan blocks of time to finish specific tasks. Include your most though-intensive activities during the times you are most productive. This helps you maintain focus and minimize disruptions. Be sure to allow for flexibility when things that need your attention come up. Remember to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Complete One Task at a Time

Focus on finishing one activity at a time. This helps prevent mistakes, lowers stress, and helps meet deadlines. You should get more done in less time with fewer distractions. You also can use your momentum to start the next activity on your list.

Take Regular Breaks

Walk away from your desk at regular intervals. Take a quick walk, talk with a coworker on break, or listen to music. Or, read a book, meditate, or listen to a podcast. You should come back focused and ready to accomplish more.

Establish Checklists

Develop checklists for recurring tasks and projects to standardize your work processes. Streamlining the steps ensures you fulfill all of the requirements. This reduces the number of errors and time spent redoing tasks.

Develop a Filing System

Establish a digital or physical system to file documents. You may want folders for invoices, contracts, or other important papers. Or, you could set up email folders by project, sender, or other categories. This ensures you save important correspondence without keeping unnecessary messages or documents.

Clean Up Your Workspace

Put away everything you do not need at the end of each day. Having a clean workspace when you start work the next day helps you stay motivated, focused, and productive. It also lets you find the documents you need when you need them.

Looking for a New IT Position?

Stay organized during your next IT job search by working with a recruiter from RightStone. Here is a link to our job board.


Successful Professionals: How to Improve Your Work Discipline

Self-discipline is what helps you complete tasks when you do not feel like doing them. This is important whether you work remotely or at the office. The more self-discipline you develop, the greater your long-term career success will be.

Follow these guidelines to increase your self-discipline while working.

Set Your Work Hours

If you have flexibility, determine which work hours best fit your schedule and lifestyle. Include the time during which you are most productive. Try to keep the schedule as much as possible. Be sure to allow time to run errands and take care of personal responsibilities when needed.

Begin with Small Exercises

Choose something easy you can use self-discipline to improve on and consistently do. Or, use self-discipline to break bad habits and form good ones. For instance, choose a task you dislike, such as checking your inbox each morning. Perform the task first thing each day. Then, reward yourself with something else you like, such as a cup of coffee. After a few weeks, you should have a new habit.

Schedule Breaks

Taking regular breaks helps you maintain self-discipline. This helps you stay focused for significant periods and motivated to continue working. Be sure to leave your desk for each break. Go for a quick walk, listen to music, or do something else to relax. You will come back rested and ready to work.

Break Up Large Tasks into Smaller Tasks

Tackling a significant assignment can feel overwhelming. This can lead to procrastination and lack of achievement. To combat the issue, break up the complex task into more manageable tasks. Begin with the first assignment, then move to the next. Continue until the entire task is finished. This increases your motivation to complete the assignment on time and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Prepare for the Next Day

Finish each day by getting ready for the next one. For instance, think about what you accomplished throughout the day. Then, consider what needs to be done tomorrow morning. Next, write down the tasks you need to finish the next day. This gives you a plan to work from tomorrow.

Looking for a New IT Job?

When the time comes to find a new IT job, include RightStone in your search. Here is a link to our job board. Or, send us your resume to learn about future opportunities.


3 Tips for Working in a Different Time Zone Than Your Co-Workers

Remote work became the theme of 2020, but it’s not a fleeting idea. According to one survey, 74% of workers expect remote work to transition from a contingency plan to a standard form of practice.

As people find more opportunities for remote work, they will continue to spread out between timezones. And those changes can present opportunities as well as challenges.

Are you joining an organization that operates across timezones? Here are three tips for maintaining those relationships.

Be Mindful with Meeting Times

Working between Central and Eastern time can be done with a bit of consideration and extra effort. But the difference between Eastern and Pacific? It’s a different story.

Do your best to keep meetings within normal working hours. When that’s not possible, make sure you don’t consistently burden one party with the unsocial hour. For example, if you work on EST and you have a colleague in Australia, you can take turns with anti-social meeting hours so that one party doesn’t consistently find themselves online at 8 PM or 6 AM.

Use Calendars to Set and Share Schedules

Encouraging calendar sharing is the simplest way to set deadlines, schedule meetings, and manage expectations.

For example, if you want to schedule a Zoom call, you can send out an invitation and hope it works for everyone. However, when you share calendars, you can go into the organization calendar and look for a time when you’re free.

You may also find it helpful for people to schedule out-of-office events, deep work hours, or hours generally out-of-bounds for video or phone calls. Then, you’ll schedule mutually agreeable meetings and avoid rescheduling.

Keep Cultural Norms in Mind

American work culture insists that 7:30 AM meetings are part of life. In Britain, setting a 7:30 AM meeting makes you a tyrant.

Cultural norms impact working hours and days as well as pace, workflows, and collaboration. Being understanding of how others use their work time will go a long way in ironing out issues before they become contentious.

 

Are you looking for your next role and hoping to land a remote option? Visit RightStone’s job board to find a new opportunity to work with coworkers across the United States and beyond.


How to Avoid Distractions When Working Remotely

The option for remote working promised us more freedom and greater productivity. Yet, what many didn’t realize is that working from home (or elsewhere outside the office) requires new ways of working.

While there are many distractions at the office, there is also an equal number outside it. And there’s no one to catch you staring at your phone, browsing the internet, or giving in to other distractions.

Do you find yourself fighting an uphill distraction battle? Use these tips to avoid distractions wherever you work now.

Four Ways To Focus When Working Remotely

Use Background Noise

Many of us long to work in a quiet space when in a busy office, but working in a quiet room can make you hyper-aware of distractions.

You may find it easier to focus by using background noise to simulate the outside world or increase your focus. Music or the radio can do the trick for some, but you may also find it smart to try options like Brain.FM, which drives your brain to focus on the task at hand. 

Even background noise like a video of coffee shop background noise on YouTube or from Coffivity could get the creative juices flowing.

Find a Rhythm for New Modes of Work

Whether you now work from home, a co-working space, or your car while running errands, your workflow will differ compared to the office. For many people, sitting down for three solid hours of uninterrupted work is not a possibility outside the confines of HQ. If that’s you, don’t try to force it.

If you have the flexibility, try a new rhythm for work. You might change the hours you work during the day, break the day up into chunks, or even reduce your daily hours and spread them over the whole week.

Play around and find what works for you.

Stand Up and Take Breaks

You stare at your screen blankly and then give up and divert yourself away from the task at hand in favor of reading the news, responding to messages, or online shopping. All of a sudden, six hours have passed, and you still can’t get back to work.

In 2020, a study found that 95% of employees no longer take as many breaks, despite having more freedom when working from home.

Make it a point to stand up and take a short break. Set a timer or use a method like the Pomodoro technique. Taking more breaks leaves you feeling refreshed and helps you avoid distractions.

Turn on Anti-Distraction Mode on Your Phone

Do you ever pick up your phone and find 20 minutes passed without you noticing? Without anyone to stop you, it’s easy to find yourself scrolling through Twitter for hours on end.

Anti-distraction mode helps protect you from notifications, and for most, it’s built right into your phone. If you need an extra hand, try an app like Freedom or RescueTime to lock you out of the biggest time-sucks on your phone.

Remote work is here to stay, but you may need to find new productivity hacks that reflect your new environment.

Trouble Finding Work Remotely? RightStone can help!

Are you looking for your next remote role? Get in touch to learn more about the jobs coming up in 2021.


Best Practices When Working Remotely

Remote work was once considered a perk, but it’s now becoming more than ‘desirable.’ For many businesses around the world, it’s essential. In 2019, 3.4% of U.S. workers skipped the office and worked from an off-site location. It goes without saying that the figure is much higher in 2020. Facebook and Google just extended their work-from-home policies until the end of 2020.

Working remotely is a big change, and while there are many benefits, adjustments must be made to succeed. Because so many jobs in IT and tech cater well to remote working, employers are looking for candidates who bring remote work skills to the table.

To help you out, we put together some of the best practices candidates and employees can use when making the transition to remote work.

Choose Your Working Hours Carefully

Finding the right hours requires some careful experimentation. Because whether you’re easily distracted or tend towards workaholic tendencies, working from home (or a coffee shop) requires you to know what you want to accomplish and when.

If your company doesn’t require you to track your time and has flexible hours, start by playing around with your most productive working hours. For some people, prime time starts at 7 AM. For others, nothing gets done before lunch.

Don’t try to force yourself into the typical 9-5 at home unless it’s required by your employer. By giving yourself space to find your most productive periods, you can then create a structure that allows you to be productive and consistent and say “pencils down” at the end of the day.

Find a Work Station 

The first big wave of remote workers started in March, and about two weeks in, they all realized that working on your computer from your sofa or kitchen table is fairly untenable. 

It’s important to find a space in your home where you can work that’s not only private but also not in a space where you otherwise spend your time.

One of the biggest problems remote workers have isn’t being productive but switching off at the end of the day. Working from your sofa makes that much harder.

Make finding a place to work each day a priority, and if that means getting out of the house when things reopen, don’t be afraid of that either!

Play with Task Management Methodologies

Because you’re not physically at work, it can be difficult to prioritize or manage tasks. Ideally, you’re working with a project management app or channel, but even then, it’s easy to look at the long list and not get anything done.

Consider adding other methodologies like the Pomodoro technique to help you complete tasks and refocus when you need to. Other apps and techniques you can try include:

  • Flowtime
  • Cowrkr
  • Swiff

Are You Ready for Remote Work?

Remote work was already a force to be reckoned with, but the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed it from an experiment in employee perks to a way of life. It’s very likely that even when businesses can return to work as normal, many will still seek to keep certain staff working off-site.

Learn more

Are you on the hunt for your next role? Get in touch to learn more about how we place consultants like you with projects that match your skills and work-style.


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