It’s Work-Life Balance week. Hurray! I guess it says it all that if we’ve had to dedicate a national week to it.
Do you feel overwhelmed and overstretched by constantly having to juggle a demanding job and various personal commitments? Are you frequently stressed, exhausted and struggling to fit everything in? You are definitely not alone.
In our hectic, 100 miles per hour lives, we often get pulled from pillar to post, drown in detail, more is expected from us and we demand more of ourselves. As a result, we tend to forget to get off the hamster wheel and take a break to think of what it is we really want, and why.
What is work-life balance anyway?
Let’s pause for a moment and think what having work-life balance means to you. What would an ideal week look like to you? How much time would you dedicate to work? How much time would you dedicate to your family? How about to yourself – downtime, personal development time? What about your hobbies and interests? How about exercising?
I truly believe that leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle is the key to feeling happy, energetic and fulfilled.
There are a lot of things that depend on others, but there is a lot that can be determined by us. So, it’s important to focus on what you can control and influence. Even if that sometimes is ‘just’ your mindset.
What could we do to achieve more balance in our life?
1. Focus on what’s important. Set goals and review them regularly. What is most important to achieve today, this week? Plan your main activities around achieving these goals. Planning your day and week ahead is key.
2. Free up time. Here are three easy ways to free up time and create more time for what matters to you.
♦ Outsource – an easy way to do so is by looking at what you can delegate to others, even if it means paying them for it. Look at it as an investment in creating more time for you and what matters. Something that has worked very effectively for us is to hire a cleaner every fortnight. It doesn’t break the bank and it frees up invaluable time.
♦ Shop online – plan your meals and shop online for your weekly groceries. Over time it will save you a lot of time, hassle and stress!
♦ Digital detox – many of us have become too attached to our digital gadgets – phones, tablets, computers, TVs etc. They are very useful, but technology can take its toll on our health and it’s good to take a break for an hour or two on a daily basis, in addition to our sleeping and recreation hours. How can you reduce the amount of time and frequency with which you check your emails and social media? Try dedicating specific times for both.
3. Do a job you love. If you can transform your passion into a job or a career, then you are optimising your life – because you are doing more of what you love.
Just remember not to spend all your time working just because you are following your passion!
4. Embrace dynamic/flexible working. More employers are recognising the benefits and are saying that they are offering such options to their employees. Even if there isn’t a formal agreement, how could you add more flexibility to your working schedule?
5. Take a break. Avoid eating at your desk or in meetings. Get some fresh air at lunchtime even if it’s just for 10-15 mins. It will make a massive difference to your well-being and productivity! And if you can work from home, could you take 5 mins every hour to do a brief household chore like the laundry?
6. Take care of yourself. In our struggle to fit everything in, we often end up compromising our health and well-being. However, this is not doing us any favours in the short or long term because we end up burnt out, stressed and not as productive as we could be.
♦ Quality sleep – are you going to bed far too late and dreading the alarm going off? It’s time to make a change. You will feel far more energised and happy the next day. Regular exercise is great for helping you sleep better and so is doing some mindfulness for 10 mins before you go to bed.
♦ Exercise – you don’t have to spend an hour every day in the gym or run for an hour. How about doing something for 30, 15 or even 10 mins? If the weather isn’t good enough to go outside, there are plenty of great videos on YouTube to suit your needs or mood. Find what you enjoy.
♦ Make time for yourself – unjustifiably considered as selfish but in reality, everyone benefits from it – you and those around you. Even 5-15 mins a day can do wonders if you stick to it.
“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to have a life”
Have fun. Take up a new hobby or reignite with an old one. Earlier this year, I started drawing again. It helps me relax. Plan an event of some sort with your family or friends. Have something to look forward to.
And a final note, remember to feel positive and to appreciate what you have and what you’ve achieved – focusing on what you don’t have and what you haven’t achieved isn’t doing you any favours.
Now it’s #timetorebalance!
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If this post has given you some food for thought and you’d like to find out how we could help you create time for what really matters to you – your hobbies, time with your family and friends, or simply quality ‘me’ time, I’d be delighted to have a chat with you.