Is it possible to be perfectly balanced between your work life and your personal life? Let’s firstly look at the maths, there are 24 hours in a day. 6-8 of those you spend sleeping, the rest you:
- are at work
- are going to any trendy wellness activity to find peace
- are checking emails
- are sending WhatsApp messages
- are sliding into someone’s DM’s
- are posting your ‘fabulous’ life on social media
- are avoiding phone calls from your boss
- are watching Netflix whilst doing the above
- are eating overpriced ‘healthy’ meals
- are trying to be fabulous in the kitchen with a food subscription
- are swiping left whilst watching Netflix
- are too tired for sex
- are too tired to meet a mate even though you both need it
- are worrying about your looks because Instagram has got you all insecure
- are downloading meditation apps and trying to zen out whilst still being connected
- are trying to feed/bath/entertain your kids but you’re too knackered so Peppa pig’s on repeat
- are watching inspirational videos by Insta-fabulous ‘living your best life guru’s’
- are comparing yourself to everyone
- are reading blogs and articles that confirm you’re close to a nervous breakdown but you keep doing all the above anyway
- are trying to love yourself but can’t quite get your head around it, so you have a bath and eat an avocado
- are dreading going to sleep because then you’ll wake up and go to a job that doesn’t ‘let’ you have a work-life balance
- are denying yourself joy because of this that and the other.
I’ve probably left out a bunch of things that you do with the other 16-18 hours. If we just look at those numbers, there are still 16-18 hours in your day. You don’t need to fill every single moment with an activity and you certainly shouldn’t be filling lots of your time with social media/mindless browsing. Connecting with people is the best most effective way to create some level of work-life balance. Relationships are at the core of us being human – remember, we’re human, not robots. Technology – whilst great – has also got us all working and consuming information as if we’re the next hybrid of AI. Spoiler alert, I reckon we’re still a good few generations away from this reality, so let’s work with now. You are not going to be a robot in your lifetime. You are a red-blooded human being with the same human needs you had before the internet and mobile phones. You are in charge of your life. You are the one in control. You make your choices.
If you don’t feel like you are in control of your own life you can a) stay where you are and stop complaining and trying to seek answers when you’re not willing to take control back or b) start living!
Here are a few tips as I know that sounds a lot easier said than done:
WORK – You get a contract, in that are the hours you are contracted to work. Work the contracted hours whilst in the office. If you need to do a little more, don’t do it in the office, even if you just go to a coffee shop nearby, leave the office on time. Being in a different environment will get that work done quicker and you can unwind a little at the same time. This is using technology to your advantage. Please please remember, if you’re on a salary, whatever extra time you give to your company, you will not get that back, let me repeat that, YOU WILL NOT GET THAT TIME BACK OR MONEY OR BE VALUED for it. Understand this and you start preventing burnout. Take it from me, who a mere 6 years ago was ready to leave this world for this very same thing. Take control back. They can’t fire you for it. And if you actually do your job, they really can’t fire you for it.
SCHEDULE FUN – Don’t just schedule meetings, schedule fun. Regularly. I’m talking about meeting up with your favourite people, doing your favourite things. Don’t just aimlessly fill your time with ‘stuff’ – do more soul-smiling things.
NOTIFICATIONS – Put them on a timer. I say this to every single person I work with no matter what they’re working towards. Don’t consume anything external until you get paid to. Switch the notifications off at least 2 hours before bed and don’t take your phone to bed with you. If you use it for your alarm, whilst not ideal, just make sure those notifications are off and don’t do anything on your phone when in bed.
If your work revolves around the internet, social media etc and you’re complaining about not having work-life balance, then you need to decide if you have enough boundaries with your work. If you are looking at this during working hours, there really is no need to look afterwards. You need to create those boundaries and stick to them.
These are a couple of broad examples, I know, they won’t apply to everyone but it’s important to remember when you ask yourself – can you really achieve a work-life balance? That the choice, really is up to you.
Puja K McClymont is a Certified, highly effective NLP Life, Business & Wellbeing Coach in London. Coaching busy people to do less and be more. Helping clients manage the stresses of daily life so that they can clarify and achieve their life goals through mindfulness-based coaching.
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