‘There isn’t a moment when I am not thinking about my job’...
‘I just cant juggle the demands of my job and the rest of my life!’...
Sound familiar? These are some of the most common statements that are said to me by my clients and so I thought it would be a good idea to address some of them as we come to the end of the year.
With all the words that are written about ‘work-life balance, we are told that we need to achieve this balance or our lives will be unbalanced. But what I tell my clients is that we should view ‘balance’ as a journey down which we are travelling rather than an end result in itself.
So what is it that we can do better next year? What will be our learning from this year that will carry you forward to next?
Work-life balance tips
Build downtime into your daily schedule: When you are organising your week, make sure you make time for your family and friends. I tend to have one arrangement free weekend every month and that works really well for my family and I.
Get up earlier in the morning: I know I am a naturally early riser but we are not all the same so instead of leaving just enough time to shower and get dressed, why not build in an extra 30 minutes so that you can choose what you want to do with the extra time. It may be spending time talking to your spouse, chatting with your children or just quietly relaxing over a hot drink and reading the paper. You will find that you are in a far better position to tackle your day if your mind and brain is in the right place.
Drop activities that sap your energy: Think about what is taking up your time and is of no benefit to you or your job. There maybe things at work of which you have no control but for those things that you do have control over think about what it is that is draining you. Of course, it could also be a person that is draining your energy so be aware of that as well.
Rethink your personal activity: Shopping takes time so think about setting a time in your schedule to do this on line and just think that you could be saving 2-3 hours per week. Plan meals ahead so you don’t have to rush into the house after work and get cooking.
Delegate and don’t be a martyr: We sometimes think that we are the only ones that can do something. Well think about asking someone to do something for you and you can do something in return for them.
Screen your phone calls! The phone rings and you rush to answer it. Voicemail is there for a reason and use it! Someone is grabbing your attention doesn’t mean you have to respond. You need to learn the art of prioritising what you are doing and not let interruptions take over your day.
Live a ‘fun’ life: Plan things out of the ordinary. Kayaking, cycling long distances and mental ones like going to a library or listening to a presentation about a new topic.
Improve your perspective: When you are stressed or anxious, think to yourself, will this matter in a day, a month or next year. If not, let go of the worry.
Take up a hobby: December is a great time to start thinking about a new class or course for next year.
Chill out and relax: Book out one hour’s relaxation for yourself every day and I can hear you already saying ‘you’re joking!’ Well I shall add to that and say seek some time solitude time to energise yourself as well.
Make one ‘healthy eating’ change to your diet to boost you energy levels – such as reducing caffeine or sugary snacks.
So when you look at how you can improve your work-life balance, try and think outside of the box. Do things that you enjoy and stimulate you. See people that you like and enjoy being with.
However to get this work-life balance takes discipline so I guess that this one should be top of your list!
Key learning points:
Work-life balance is a journey
It takes discipline
Use the new year to make resolutions
— The author is a BBC Guest-Broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international Stress Management consultancy and her new book, ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’ is available in all good bookshops.