Self-management – the right balance at work and in your free time

Balance and variety are good for us. Without the right degree of balance, over the long term our bodies respond by becoming stressed. We have put together a few tips to help you keep your body and mind in balance.

Self-management as part of the daily work routine is an art. It is often equated with time management but actually involves much more than knowing how to organise one’s time well. Self-management means actively organising oneself and one’s working day, planning tasks, setting priorities and realistic goals, and remaining motivated while doing so.

There are various methods and strategies to avoid stress. A basic principle of successful self-management is to ensure a good physical, mental or emotional balance both at work as well as in your free time.

At work

1/ Switch between routine tasks and those requiring concentration

When organising your work, ensure enough variety. If one task requires a large degree of concentration and creativity, it should be followed by a routine task that you can carry out relatively easily. If you need a complete change from computer work, you can bundle paper for recycling or go shopping for some fruit as a snack for your colleagues.

2/ Moving around in the office

Don’t spend the entire day sitting down. Stand up to make a phone call or get out of the office at lunchtime for a walk. Meetings too can stand a little innovation and don’t need to be held sitting down. Keep moving. For example if you are standing in front of the printer and waiting for your copies, you could stretch up high, stand on your tiptoes and do a few limbering exercises. Make conscious use of your breaks to keep moving. Stand up to enjoy your coffee break or read your newspaper. Or use the toilets two floors above and take the stairs to get there.

3/ A balanced diet

A balanced and healthy diet is also important. Optimally you should take in only the number of calories that are necessary, spread over three meals, and eat only nutritious foods. If you are having an energy low, nuts and dried fruits are good as well as fresh fruit. The former don’t go off quickly, even if they are kept in a drawer for a longer period of time.

For the sake of your wellbeing – check your knowledge of self-management

Do you recognise the symptoms of stress? Is your time management efficient and do you set realistic goals? You can test your knowledge of self-management using the FCOS Learning Modules.

4/ A change of scenery

A change is truly as good as a rest and will allow you to tackle your next task with a clear head. Shift a meeting to a café or a co-working space. How about a holding a meeting with your team while taking a walk? Even lunch away from the office provides distance and a short break from work. Is the nearest park 15 minutes walk away? All the better. Kill two birds with one stone and give your muscles a break from sitting.

In your free time

5/ Take time out

Whether part of a club or simply together with friends and family: find something outside work that you enjoy and that allows you to tank up on energy. If you spend a lot of time with people during the day and need a little time to yourself in the evening, take a walk in the countryside, learn how to play an instrument, paint or do some gardening. It is important for you to recover from the working day and switch off.

6/ Offline

Give yourself periods of time without access to the media and don’t allow yourself to be online permanently. Switch off your smartphone in the evening and at the weekend and do not work on any business correspondence outside of the office. Even if working remotely and home office are generally accepted: your free time is really your free time!

7/ Exercise in your free time

An adult should do around 2 ½ hours of average intensity exercise each week, such as walking briskly, riding a bicycle, shovelling snow or gardening or 1 ¼ hours of high-intensity sport.1 Exercising can also be combined with social activities. The next time you meet up with friends, you could play a couple of rounds of table tennis or go to the local swimming pool and do a few lengths. Regardless of whether you dance, jog or do yoga, exercise diffuses tension long term, helps you to think more clearly and sleep better at night.

Federal office of sports FOSPO 2013,

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In the seven chapters of the FCOS Box and a series of short video clips, you will find out how to improve health and safety at the office and what needs to be taken into consideration.

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