Work life balance is a concept many of us struggle with. It aims to encourage us to prioritise our career and our lifestyle; but why do so many of us fail to have that balance in our lives? Introducing exercise, nutrition, natural wellbeing treatments as well as down time and invaluable family time is a good start.
Recently taking 3 months off from the daily grind, I began to think about work life balance. What does it mean? Is it widely supported? How do I achieve work life balance?
Those integral months gave me the opportunity to concur a few significant milestones;
§ A holiday in New Zealand, my homeland
§ Dedication to build my online brand, discover who I am and my career direction
§ Time to study and explore the world of ‘design’
§ Opportunities to head to the beach during the day to enjoy sun, sand and the ocean
§ Investing in friends and family
§ Connecting with tones of interesting professionals
The freedom to do what I love, at my own pace, ignited my reset button. I have always known what was important, but I will admit, I have allowed my drive and ambition to murky the waters. I now have a total perspective on life and am reminded of what is important.
I believe in work life balance; however, it is sometimes difficult to manage when we are in a high pressured, demanding job with constant deadlines. It is not just about time, it is about the importance of the balance. I have decided to make a promise to myself to maintain my work life balance and take accountability for it.
Here are 10 tips that have helped me bring “life balance” back into my busy schedule.
As an all-rounder, Yoga is a popular form of exercise that targets your mind, body and soul. I find that one hour of Yoga, 3-5 times a week, gives you the time to remove everything flooding your mind and focus on you. Some may achieve this with a morning run or a few of weekly gym sessions. This is your “me time”. With the hustle and bustle of life’s commitments, we often don’t get time to ourselves. I have been known to pull out my Yoga mat when I am on business in Asia! Put your foot down. Make it happen.
Meditation is one of my daily activities no matter how snowed under I am. I meditate both in the morning and evening. I have also been known to complete a session in a break if I feel my thought process is muddled and I need to guide my direction. Meditation can be really helpful in the evening if you find it hard to sleep. It is a great way to calm yourself which in turn helps with your performance at work. Check out www.soundcloud.com for some inspiration.
3. A Schedule
Try to incorporate a working schedule into your life, just as you would for your work priorities. This way you understand your commitments and needs in advance and can manage your day effectively.
We are all guilty of not taking breaks. This is another part of our day that is hard to manage. Two to three breaks a day can really retune our pressure and stress levels. Take time to read a book, have a social catch up with a colleague or do something that you enjoy. An activity that removes your mind from your priorities is going to allow you to return with a clear head. Don’t forget, lots of water and fuel your mind!
5. Flexible Hours
Whether you are leaving early to pick up the kids; taking time to volunteer or wanting to work from home, flexible hours and working locations are becoming the “norm”. If you really feel like this option will benefit you, have a frank conversation with your Manager. What have you got to lose?
6. Leave Work on Time & SHUT DOWN!!!
Leaving work on time creates stability. It is not easy and sometimes we need that time after hours to get a few tasks ticked off our list. Don’t make it a habit. You spend the majority of your waking day at work. You deserve an equal amount of your own time too!
Are you someone who continues to send emails on your phone and answer ridiculous phone calls after 7pm? Unless you are on call or managing clients in another time zone, shut it off!!! The work will still be there in the morning. Try to avoid weekend work too! You are not a super hero.
If you have annual leave or days owing, try to take them as often as possible. Not removing yourself from work for a holiday can really take a toll. I personally love to take one vacation a year, then I dabble in long weekends here and there. The wheels keep turning when we are not at work (although for some of us, this is hard to believe).
8. Family & Friends
These guys are so important and they sometimes don’t get the best of us. Yes, we have to make a living and a future for our families, however we need to make time for those that matter. They are the people that hear our worries, complaints, enjoyments, failures and successes, all the highs and lows.
My girlfriends and I are busy bee’s. We have husbands, children, commitments, other friendships and hobbies that make up our week. We created a group where we meet once per month from a “networking” perspective, to share everything from parenthood to profession!
9. Good Food and Sleep; maybe …… Wine
I don’t need to say too much here. Eat well, exercise, sleep kind. A nutritional diet and getting a decent night sleep can often be thrown out the window with the pressures of life. Try to work on this area as a priority. Eating well means you feel energised. Sleeping well equals rested. If you are partial to a wine or alcoholic beverage, enjoy it! Sometimes it is a reward for a job well done!
10. Your Passion
Find a passion outside of work. Study, volunteer or tap into a hobby. Commit to your activity once a week. This will give you time away from work and your family/friends so you can have that little bit more “me time”. Just make sure it is an even playing field. If you deserve this, so does your partner in crime.
We all have different lifestyles and work commitments. Some of us may not be working your standard Monday to Friday, 9-5. For those that are self-employed entrepreneurs, these tips may be dream. I think we owe it to our mind, body and soul to hit the “reset button” every now and again.
How do you manage work life balance? How do you hit the reset button?