The work life balance is a fickle thing. Usually weighted in favour of work, it takes nothing to knock it off kilter and, before you know it, you are working a 60 hours week as the norm and missing out of the socialising and joy of being with family and friends. Of course, there are times when work gives way to life or family, and family gives way to work. There are stresses, strains and deadlines in many aspects of life and work but, when the balance is no longer anywhere near equilibrium, it can take a toll of mental and physical health, as well as relationships. Thus, restoring this balance and maintaining it is key to a balance between work and play but, how can you achieve this perfect work life balance?
Tip 1: Find your own balance
As much as studies and articles suggest that there is a magic or mathematical equation to the work/life balance conundrum, there isn’t and thus, the first tip is a rather subjective one and that is, we each need to find our own balance. What works for one person, may not work for another; instead you should be paying attention to your own needs and well-being, recognising when you are emotionally or physically under too much pressure.
Tip 2: Balance energy and relaxation
What can feel like revved up nervous energy is actually adrenalin and like caffeine, it is a chemical that gives our system a temporary lift… with a massive slump on the other side.
Being too hyped up, too fuelled on adrenalin can makes is stressed, tired and irritable thus, in order to make sure that we are energised, and not running on fresh air fuelled by a chemical, we need to learn to switch off and relax.
Tip 3: Don’t be a martyr
Every work place has one. The person who seems to carry on, regardless. This ‘doormat’ victim is doing themselves no favours but it is a role that any of us can slip in to, without realising. On one hand, they resent all the work that gets given to them but, on the other, they hog all the work.
Sound familiar? In this sense, martyr is a reversal of ego; the more work you have, the busier you look, the important you feel. Ditch the heroics and don’t take on all the work…
Tip 4: Ask for help
A tough lesson for many people is when they need to ask for help. Many people associate asking for help with weakness; they feel that they are almost saying they cannot cope, or that are struggling. For others, it is a big dent to their pride. In this sense, it is a two stage process: realising when you need to ask for help and secondly, why you are reluctant to ask for this help.
Tip 5: ‘Good enough’ is sometimes OK
Many of us are driven by perfection. No one can knock perfection or a job well done, but it can soon flip from being a force for good, to being an unrelenting road of travel. We are all guilty of holding on to work or ‘being the only one that can do it’ because we like it done one way – that is, our way and only this way is perfect. Sometimes ‘good enough’ is really OK!
Tip 6: Saying no…
Another tough lesson, especially for those of us who say yes far more than we should. Saying yes all of the time devalues our self-worth simply because we become overloaded with work. We start to feel bogged down and stressed… and we enter a vicious self-defeating circle.
Tip 7: Balance the work load
Sometimes, however, an exciting project comes along that you really do not want to say no to, but you have so much on… and this is where balancing your work load, and learning the art of both delegation and negotiation. Try to move one project out, to make room for another (easier said than done in some cases).
Tip 8: Keep a weekend free, every now and then
Having a break, a weekend of down time, to indulge in time with family and friends is one way that the home/work life can be balanced. It sounds derogatory to opt for every weekend in 4 but when work is busy for a stretch of time, it serves as one way of being able to free your mind from the stress and strains of work.
Tip 9: Do something for yourself at least once a week
This can be massage or facial treatment, to a weekly swim, to a walk round the block and a coffee at the local café… but do something, at least once a week, for yourself. And make it non-negotiable – in other words, it is compulsory down time.
Tip 10: Drawing the line
When we are busy at work, we worry about home and then, when we are home, we worry about work. One way of drawing the line between work and home is to write down all the things that need accomplishing tomorrow at work… and then literally drawing a line underneath it. There is nothing more to be done, nothing more that can be done about it at this point… so you can go home, switch off and enjoy some social or family time.