Tips to have a more balanced work/home life.
Your business is thriving; your private life is not. You keep putting off that dinner with friends and look ruefully at the pair of skies bought a couple of years ago. It would be nice to say the pandemic stopped you from booking a holiday in the snow. But the truth is work always creeps in. You’re at your desk 12+ hours a day and never seem to tick off all the things on your to-do list.
Sounds familiar? It seems that this is the accepted narrative in our society: you can either be successful at home or at work, never in both. Many of us long to work fewer hours and have more time for the things we enjoy. We dream of coffee with a friend in the morning or going on a holiday without checking our emails.
It is possible to create our own story. This feeling of overwhelm is often based on a lack of self-belief or boundaries. When we feel overwhelmed, it’s a sign that we need to realign our life with our values. That admission — and the work involved- might not be easy at first, but once you are willing to eat the frog, you will be surprised how fast your life will turn around.
Here are three quick ways to address overwhelm and take back control:
TAKE A STEP BACK
When you have a thriving business, stopping seems to make no sense. You are successful after all; what more could you want? And yet too many of my clients feel like they lost control over parts of their life. They believed that once they hit that elusive six-figure goal, fireworks would go off and life would immediately feel different.
The truth is: you are still the same person with the same struggles, no matter how much you earn. And sometimes, clients realise that milestone wasn’t actually what they were looking for. Avoid falling into that trap by stepping back from time to time. Every quarter, ask yourself: is this my definition of success? Or is it the one I see day in day out on social media?
BOOST OUR SELF-BELIEF
Most of us have heard about imposter syndrome; not everyone knows that it includes many different symptoms. Whilst many believe they do not “deserve” success or cannot replicate it, other telltale signs can be that you cannot internalise positive achievements. Too many of us are still fighting with the inner voice that whispers we are not good enough. People who experience imposter syndrome are usually high achievers, and your internal belief doesn’t match your experience’s external success. Research shows that self-doubt is the leading cause of imposter syndrome — and it has many sources.
Envy plays an important role: A 2018 study found a direct link between jealousy and how you feel about yourself. As you might expect, social media is partly responsible: 88% of people make social comparisons on Facebook. Out of these, 98% are upward social comparisons. We constantly compare ourselves to those who have more, not less than us — and with 2.80 billion people on Facebook and over 1 billion people on Instagram, there will always be someone who has a bigger home, a more successful career and a healthier lifestyle.
Staying away from social media is often not feasible, but using it in a better way is. I only follow around 10 people, mostly friends and family. None of these accounts stresses me. You don’t have to be as ruthless as I was but I suggest you do an edit of the accounts you have in your feed and unfollow those that don’t make you feel good. To boost your self-belief, you can balance them with some that include positive affirmations or uplifting thoughts. Set a timer for each social media account, so you use it productively and are conscious of every minute you spend on it.
A success journal can be another helpful tool in your arsenal. In it, you list three things each day that you achieved — from making a difficult decision to emptying the dishwasher on a day you felt unproductive, every achievement counts. Over time, you will see that your small victories amount to significant changes that brought you the success you now enjoy, not luck or chance. See it as a mindset workout that you can do daily. Journaling about specific questions can help to discover where the root for your struggles lies.
Ask yourself: If you were to strip yourself of all your life roles, how would that feel? Which ones would you miss? What is it about them that you enjoy? Is it the freedom to make your own decisions, the time spent with certain people or something else entirely? Do you have pressure to perform flawlessly in any of your roles? Where does that pressure come from? It might be that others in your environment push you to do more than you are comfortable with, but often we create that pressure ourselves. Do you usually expect perfection from yourself? Then it might be time to change your mindset. Can you find a sentence that helps you to relieve the pressure? Write it on a post-it note and stick it on your mirror to boost your self-belief. Here is one of my favourites:
No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.
SET BOUNDARIES IN AREAS THAT AREN’T SERVING YOU WELL
Is this you? Your clients have your personal mobile number and can reach you anytime. You read emails the moment they come in, then decide to answer them “later” at an unspecified time. You have meetings all day, every day and can’t keep up with your daily schedule. If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to have a look at your boundaries- or lack thereof. A few questions can help you:
In your current job, what tasks do you enjoy the most? Is it managing projects, working face — to -face with clients, leading a team? Now look at your daily, weekly and monthly tasks: Do the things you enjoy feature large or are other tasks taking over? Are there things on your list that aren’t urgent? Can you delegate those or drop them altogether?
If, for example, emails might take up a large chunk of your time — can your assistant deal with them first and send you only those that need your personal attention? You can also set up fixed times in the day that you check your email folder and turn off those pesky notifications. They interrupt your workflow.
It’s essential to recognise where your overwhelm is coming from so you can move past it, give yourself what you need, and handle all aspects of life in a way that aligns with your purpose. Answering the questions above will help you calm your feelings of overwhelm, understand where it’s coming from and move forward calmly and gracefully.
What’s one way you can show up today to support yourself?
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