In a world where work is almost always synonymous with stress, striking a balance between work and life is key to successful AND happy living. And did you know that the iPhone on your pocket could help you find better work-life balance if you use it right? The following are tips on how you can use your iPhone as a tool to enhance your work-life balance, including tips on great free App Store apps that can help you keep it together at work and live life to the fullest.
1. Look for Work-Life Balance Issues
The first step, of course, is to take a good, long look at your current work-spare time ratio. Track your activities using your iPhone’s built-in calendar app, and be thorough! You’re doing this to have a bird’s-eye-view of your current activities and spot any issues that might be keeping you from good work-life balance.
You can plot a calendar event manually by typing your activities in on the app, or use Siri. Here’s how:
- Hold the Home button and say “Hey Siri” to launch Siri;
- Next, say something like “Schedule a [meeting/appointment/call] with [Alex] [2 PM on Tuesday],” substituting the words in parentheses for people and dates;
- Siri will tell you that she set up your schedule, and will ask you to confirm. Do so.
Try installing apps like ATracker, which gives you data on your daily/weekly routines to help you analyse your life and how you spend it on your day-to-day activities. ATracker records how much time you’ve spent on particular tasks, and gives you a useful graph that you can use to guide your actions throughout the day.
Observe your activities for the week and ask yourself the following questions: Have you been taking on a huge load on your job consistently? Does your current schedule leave you little time for friends, family and personal leisure? Look for anything in your schedule that might be stressing you out, or any extra activities that you don’t need to do but are taking up your time anyway and move towards eliminating that from your schedule. Overcommitting is the first step to burning out, hard.
2. Make Time for Life
Once you get a good idea of what your schedule is like, fix apparent issues by organising your work and life into separate spheres of activities within your day or week. You can’t say you have good work-life balance if the work side of the equation is neglected. You need to make time for your family and to take care of your personal responsibilities.
One way you can do that is to keep track of your personal events or tasks, like taking out the trash, being home for your son’s birthday party, etc. so you don’t forget. Cozi is a great app for your iPhone that functions as a calendar, shopping list, to-do list, journal and event manager for your personal life. It allows you to keep active track of your work life without forgetting to manage your personal business.
Cozi is a great way to remind yourself of your personal responsibilities and commitments, and it helps you plan your work schedule around these events. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing an important anniversary dinner, so you can give your 100% at work, all the time.
3. Stay on Task
As we’ve established, the ‘life’ part of work-life balance is pretty important, but so is the ‘work’ part of it. That’s why you need to learn to stay focused on your job in order to finish your task within clear deadlines and avoid extending your work hours when you don’t have to. Fortunately, you have apps like Focus Booster for your iPhone that can help you stay on task when you need to.
Focus Booster, as the name implies, boosts your focus and helps you manage distractions. It tracks your time automatically and allot you breaks at optimal intervals to keep you fresh and focused throughout your entire work session. It also makes tracking your productivity a breeze by generating easy-to-understand reports that record your progress and how well you’ve made use of your time.
4. Make It A Point To Unplug
As handy as your iPhone is for your job, taking a business call during family time or time dedicated to friends can be taken as an act of bad faith. If you find that you’re too connected with work or your gadgets, you can try apps like BreakFree, which measure phone usage and warn you if you’ve been using your phone too much.
BreakFree allows you to control how much you use your phone by monitoring the apps you use, and it pings you when you use them more than you should. You can even use it to block incoming messages from work if you’re in the middle of spending quality time with friends and family, or doing much needed R&R while on leave. Work-life balance means having to unplug from work if you’re not living enough.
5. Do Stress-Relief When You Can
A worthwhile job often means demanding work, and demanding work means stress. On your off days, find time for to do the things you love for some R&R. Download apps like Pacifica, which offers simple and easy to use mood monitoring, meditation and relaxation options that will not only calm you down, but also teach you how to manage your stress daily.
6. Treat Your Body Right
Exercise. Studies show a causal link between exercise and overall happiness, and improves stress-coping mechanisms in the brain. Work-life balance isn’t just about managing your time, relationships and thoughts. It’s also about keeping your body healthy so you can face challenging work environments consistently.
For starters, ask Siri to identify the closest gyms near you. Going in once or twice a week is a great way to stay fit, especially if you find yourself behind a desk 8 hours a day. Downloading fitness apps like MyFitnessPal into your iPhone helps you regularise your activities. The app monitors and analyses your activities and gives you feedback you can use to set your fitness goals. It also allows you to complete fitness challenges to keep your workouts fun. It’s a great way to track your progress and get rid of the tedium of working out.