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Here's How Managers Can Role Model A Good Work-Life Balance For Their Teams How can business leaders ensure that they -and their teams- achieve their goals in the most effective ways, without sacrificing their work-life boundaries?

By Bernard Marr

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Whether it's four-day working weeks, or early finishes on a Friday, the summer months can prove challenging for business leaders looking to sustain productivity whilst enjoying some well-deserved rest. Now more than ever, we need the skills to work smarter, and uphold the boundaries between our working and personal lives.

Good time management enables you to create a balanced life where you can manage your workload without working all hours, achieve your personal and professional goals, and spend time doing what you care about. They're also skills that will continue to become more and more important as we enter the next wave of industry, with new technologies quickly making the world a louder and much busier place.

So, how can business leaders ensure that they -and their teams- achieve their goals in the most effective ways, without sacrificing their work-life boundaries? Here's five ways you can put into practice today:

1. Plan your week carefully As a manager, your time might be split between multiple teams or projects, so it's vital that you learn how to plan your days, and find a balance that allows you to complete your work -and life- tasks. Consider when you are most productive, and block out focus time in your calendar if possible. Reviewing how and when your team communicate could also help with setting boundaries, and freeing up their valuable time, with some organizations implementing meeting-free days, or preferring to share non-urgent updates via a team Slack channel.

2. Think about what's important- and do that first The modern world is full of distractions and tasks that could fill up your afternoons if you let them. But not every task will be as pressing as another, so identifying what you must do -rather than what you'd like to- is a crucial time management skill for any leader. An easy way to do this is by changing how you approach your to-do list. Whilst some people prefer to start with the smaller deliverables first, labelling by importance, rather than ease, is a more effective way of staying on top of your daily tasks. I like to use the ABC method to plan my day, categorizing my tasks by significance, and working my way down the list as I go. That way, if I don't achieve something in the working day, I know it's something that isn't urgent, and it can be moved to the next day's schedule.

3. Encourage your team to say no Saying no is something we often don't feel that we should do in a workplace, but declining an invitation politely but firmly is a habit that enables you to develop stronger work-life boundaries. If you're asked to complete a task, or attend a meeting that isn't relevant, weigh up the importance of the new task in comparison to your current workload. Often, it's more setting the expectation of when you can say yes to attending that meeting or delivering that project than completely rejecting it outright.

4. Don't be available 24/7 Entrepreneurs and business leaders have gained a reputation for working odd hours, but checking and sending out-of-hours emails only acts to encourage unhealthy boundaries and an "always-on" culture that is known to contribute to employee burnout. Role-modeling a healthy work-life balance as a manager requires you to disconnect, and set clear boundaries on when you can -and should- be contacted. Make use of the "do not disturb" mode on your phone and digital platforms if you require focus time, but always ensure that your team is aware of who to speak to in your absence to prevent you from becoming a roadblock.

5. Take breaks Studies have found that taking breaks can boost our ability to focus, make decisions, and think creatively, so make the most of your lunch hour, for instance, and encourage your team to do the same. This could be as simple as going for a walk outside, or taking 10 minutes at the start of your day to grab a drink, and get into the working mindset. Mindfulness is a great way to learn to be more present and reflect on what's going on around you, so use these moments to unwind and think about other, non-related work matters.

Related: Cracking The Code: Leveraging Gen Z's Strengths In The Workplace
Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer, author and thought leader in the fields of business and technology. His latest book, Future Skills: The 20 Skills and Competencies Everyone Needs to Succeed in a Digital World (Wiley, £18.99), is out now.
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