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Hang tight – We’re nearly there!

By Gareth Grant, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop

Is it just me, or does 2021 feel like it has just been an extension of the chaos and difficulties of 2020? Although I didn’t think it was possible after last year, it felt like there were a lot more downs than there were ups. With less than 80 days to go until 2022, we find ourselves with the last hard slog ahead of us before we can bid this year adieu.

With energy levels at an all-time low, a feeling of virtual meeting overload and planning for the New Year sapping our time and energy, it is imperative that we set good project/milestone management while also striving to not lose our sanity in the stress. Wellbeing is associated with higher morale, which, in turn, leads to higher productivity. A study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans – Workplace Wellness Trends 2017 , cited that workforce unwellness could be costing the global economy 10-15% of annual economic output. So work-life balance is super important for businesses and individuals to end another tough year successfully. On paper that may sound a lot simpler than it may be. Or does it?

Can we not start with just a few simple things? I set myself that challenge and as a result, relooked how I structured my day and how I made use of my time. Once I have a list of all the things I have to do in a day, I sifted out the unimportant from the important. Too often we get roped into ‘urgent’ or ‘important’ matters without really evaluating their real impact. So be deliberate about your time and how you prioritise and communicate it clearly to teams and managers. Diary management is another great way to manage wellbeing. Don’t be scared to carve out “me time”, stick to it and encourage others to do the same. Make your working hours clear to all those you work with by adding it to your email signature.

“Me time” can be anything from exercising, to a walk around the garden, playing with your kids or pets, some digital downtime or spending time on your hobby. Personally, I like to spend time in my workshop where I tinker on a new woodwork project which ultimately leads to a different level of creative thinking. I am often surprised by how a short break from my laptop helps me approach tasks I have struggled on in a new way and tends to yield a better solution. Managing wellbeing often leads to sleeping better, being in a better mood, a better creative output, all which will assist in making the most out of the last few weeks of 2021.

The trick is to start small and build up to a fully-fledged routine that works for you. If you can’t find yourself having non-working “me time”, then try having a meeting while walking around the block. At least then you are in a different, more inspiring environment, while also getting some fresh air. That certainly won’t hurt. I encourage you to give it a try and then encourage someone else to do the same.

There are so many tips and resources on wellbeing at work – give it a Google. One that I found online that has helped me prioritise and focus is the 4Ds model – Do, Delay, Delegate or Drop. The Delegate bit has been empowering, not only has it allowed me time to focus on the “Do”, but it has created opportunities for the team members I delegated tasks to develop new skills, build additional networks and showcase their work. The “Drop” part of the 4Ds model has required more critical thought, and strong collaboration and agreement with our partners and clients. It has been a useful exercise though for all of us as it made us really sift out projects that add very little value (and often take up lots of time) and rather focus on tasks and projects that have high impact and do them better.

While I encourage you to put effort into your own wellbeing, don’t forget to be kind to others. We never know the battles someone else is going through nor the emotional toll it may have, so be kind. It costs nothing to show empathy, offer a helping hand or to share a smile. Don’t burden team members unnecessarily, communicate clearly to avoid wasting time with back and forths, and encourage others to do something to improve their wellness.

So, what small change are you going to make to improve your wellbeing?

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