A Matter of Work-Life Balance
Life can sometimes be quite hectic. We spend the majority of our time trying to work and save money to secure our future, but many of us forget to focus on the present. This leads to us spending our lives focusing on the future, not living in the present and being dissatisfied in both our personal and professional lives (cue “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Joe Cocker in the background).
Today I’m going to tell you about the importance of Work-Life-Balance and how to find it. Too much work and we won’t get to unwind and refocus on our goals and we burn out. Too little work and we can lose confidence in our skills and lose sight of our goals. Both of these can lead to depression and anxiety, although in vastly different ways.
What exactly is work-life balance?
Work-life balance is more than just simply maintaining an equal balance between work and quality time. People have a hard time agreeing on a concrete, all-in-one definition for what constitutes work-life balance since it varies wildly from person to person. In all honesty, it depends on how much enjoyment someone derives from their work, as well as how resilient a person is.
Finding a balance between productivity and de-stressing can be difficult when you have mouths to feed and rent to pay. However, even 15 minutes to decompress at the end of the day can leave you feeling more fulfilled. This is what work-life balance is really all about – finding satisfaction in both your personal and professional life without having to sacrifice one for the other.
Why do I need to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
This is similar to asking why it’s important not to skip leg day at the gym. One without the other is silly right? So is working all the time without focusing on your well-being. During a Monday – Friday workweek, I personally spend 40 hours a week at work, at least 4 tutoring, 4 babysitting, 8 driving, 5 doing allotted VA work, and 24 sleeping. On top of that I have to make time for my parents, boyfriend, best friend, food prep, gym, cats and business social media! Although I’m writing this article for you, I’m also writing it for me to remind me that I need to relax and breathe. So, breathe with me. And let’s find out ways to balance our personal and professional life.
How do I balance my work and personal life?
Striking the right balance is of course very situational. It really depends on your particular circumstances, passions and hobbies. What type of work you do, how easily satisfied you are, and what things in life really make you happy in life? Still, there are some time-tested pearls of wisdom that you can follow in order to achieve a quality work-life balance.
- MAKE time for Me-time
Take time to care for yourself or really engage in your hobbies seriously. Take time to think about hobbies you’d like to start and narrow them down to reasonable ones that cost a reasonable (and realistic) amount of time and money. Once you’ve decided that a particular amount of time should be set aside as “break time,” remove any temptations to work – both mental or physical e.g. phones, laptops, sticky notes, pens. All that should matter is what you have decided to spend your break time on. If you’ve decided to watch a movie with your kids on a Saturday, then use that time to really bond with your kids watching How to Train Your Dragon 3, instead making a mental checklist for after the movie.
I know how important this is. I’m guilty of being spending quality time with my friends while engaging with Instagram followers, brainstorming blog ideas, or what my next blog idea will be. It’s important for both of us to remember that work will be there in the morning.
LPT: If you need to carry a little notebook at first so fleeting thoughts don’t disappear, fine. Baby Steps.
- Take baby steps
If you’re reading this, you’re probably overwhelmed and looking for tips. This one is a biggie. Baby Steps. That simple. Make lists, break up big tasks into small ones and churn them out in chucks. Set scheduling goals and reevaluate periodically. You can either do this yourself or hire someone to help you (shameless plug *wink wink*)
Deadlines can be scary, big projects can be scary but even the tallest tower was started with a single brick. Celebrate in the little victories. Finished half of your big project? Celebrate with a yummy lunch or half an hour of your favorite show. No matter how insurmountable your workload may seem, you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel much faster if you count your little victories.
2. Take mini-breaks
Even your computer will overheat if you tax it with heavy use throughout the entire day, and even the best computer will eventually die unless you recharge the battery. Our bodies aren’t made of wires and cables, and we are far worse than our computers do if we push ourselves too much by staring at a bright screen for hours on end. If there’s no way you can spend make time to go outside your office for 10 minutes of Vitamin D, then at least take some time to stand up, do some light stretching, or just wash your face so you can feel refreshed. Your stress levels will drastically go down if you know how to take mini-breaks throughout the day instead of spending the entire work day all hunched over in front of a computer.
3. Never sacrifice what is urgent for what is truly important
Between that looming business deadline and that parent-teacher convention at your child’s school, which do you choose? Not an easy decision to make, right? Well, next time you are put in that predicament, think about this: which of these is truly important to you? It’s not about what needs to be done right now, but it’s about the precious moments you’ll never get back if you sacrifice them now.
There’s no right or wrong answer here – but it’s a certainty that one of these will feel closer to your heart. Unfortunately life happens, and most of the time you need to meet that deadline to keep food on the table and a roof over their head. And there’s no shame in that.
Just remember to celebrate the little things. Celebrate the things that matter to you.
Finally, where do my VA services come in? You’re running a business, and that’s not something you can outsource. What you can outsource is email management, calendar management, data entry, research, writing and editing. These are just some of the many human-interest tasks that you can delegate to someone else – someone you trust – and best of all, I don’t need to be physically present in your office. My favorite part if I can work from my home too!
Now, when you can hire a virtual assistant who can remotely perform the grueling tasks for you, you’re free to focus on the core of your business and the more important things in life – like enjoying life with the people who truly matter to you.
Life. It can sometimes be hectic, unfair and seemingly filled with unnecessary specifications, but you don’t need to feel overwhelmed. Find the work-life balance that works for you, and outsource the tedious tasks you don’t need to do personally.