Author: Julie Morris
Forming a balance between life and work can be tricky. Project managers are often asked to go above and beyond in order to climb the corporate ladder. Working long hours and navigating tight deadlines leaves little room for a personal life, much less a healthy one. But as a project manager, your job will always be highly stressful and demanding so finding ways to maintain your health within those parameters is critical. Here are a few ideas for balancing your work and personal life while taking care of yourself.
Fit Exercise in Where You Can
Exercise is a very important aspect of being well on a busy schedule. The endorphins help reduce stress while boosting your mood and benefitting your physical wellbeing. If you don’t have time for a gym visit, you might try doing a few minutes of yoga at home.
Of course as a project manager your day is filled with conference calls, presentations, and desk work, such as writing reports and updating project plans. You barely have time to eat lunch, let alone take a break to go for a walk or jog. If that’s the case, exercise without ever leaving your office by trying desk exercises. There are many small forms of exercise that may not be prepping you for a marathon but will keep you feeling good.
Learn to Meditate
When you’re in the midst of putting out a project fire, remembering to take a break and relax is one of the most difficult parts of your day. It can feel as though you’re wasting time not being productive, however relaxing is a very important part of caring for yourself. It gives your mind the chance to recuperate.
Meditation is one of the best ways to get your mind to unwind and relieve your stress. You can meditate anytime and anywhere, making it an ideal tool for the busy bee. Try to include a few minutes of meditation each day. In the long run, your projects will be revitalized by the clearer vision you have as a result of having a clear mind.
Bring a Furry Friend on Work Trips
Chances are you sometimes have to travel for meetings with clients and other team members. While it’s nice to get out of the office, traveling for work can be stressful and exhausting. You’re away from your home and your family, and often, it’s to smooth over a client relationship or put out a fire on a runaway project—both of which are blood pressure-boosting situations.
So, the next time you set off on a work trip you might want to consider bringing your dog along. It might sound like a crazy idea, but dogs actually improve our physical health and are great mood boosters. And because we Americans love our pets so much there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels around the U.S. Here’s a great list of a few of them:
Of course, there are a few factors you may want to consider before bringing your dog along. Doing so may only work if your dog is small enough to travel with you in the plane’s cabin. Flying in the baggage hold, where larger dogs would be required to go, can be quite traumatizing for them. And if you’re going to be away from your hotel room for long hours on your trip, you may have to make arrangements with the hotel to have someone take your dog for a walk or two, or you could hire a local pet sitter to keep them company. That said, just think about how nice it would be to return to your hotel and be greeted by your loving, happy dog, rather than an empty room on your next work trip. With that said, if your project environment allows for the presence of a pet, they’re great icebreakers and may even foster more communication among team members.
Spend Time Planning Meals
Eating poorly has more negative effects than you might think. It may feel impossible to correct your diet on your schedule, but there are a few ways you can upgrade the way you eat. On a day where you have a few hours to spare, sit down and plan your week’s meals.
Some of your best tools are going to be your freezer and your slow cooker. Freezer meals are ideal ways for busy people to eat better. You will simply mix the ingredients, place the combined ingredients in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers, and store them in your freezer. Before you head to work, empty the container into your slow cooker and let it work its magic. By the time you come home, a fresh, home-cooked meal will be waiting.
Be Sure to Get Quality Sleep
Most people do not get adequate sleep. Even if they are sleeping the right amount, it is likely that their quality is lacking. With the near-constant use of screens and the blue light they display, people are finding it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you’re guilty of checking work emails into the wee hours, it’s time to implement a no phone policy for bedtime.
If you have a hectic schedule, as most project managers do, sleep is very important to your health. It is your body’s time to recover and prepare itself for the next day. To encourage good sleep, you may try melatonin supplements or possibly a nightly routine to train your brain for quality sleep. To stop your project manager mind from thinking of the day’s work, place a notepad and pen on your nigh stand to jot down last minute thoughts.
Caring for yourself when you feel you have no time for a personal life can be very challenging. However, carving out a few hours for yourself each week is a critical part of being a healthy, well-rounded person and will likely make you a much stronger project manager. So once in awhile choose to leave your work at the office. Find the time you need to tend to your physical and mental health before diving back into your work and then you’re ready to tend to your project’s health!
Image via Pixabay by wokandapix