I’m currently writing this post in somewhat of a hypocritical stance, as I’m writing about career advice that I’m currently not taking myself! But I’m trying, so I wanted to share some tips with you here. Today’s #MotivationMonday post is all about how to create the ideal work-life balance. Finding the perfect work-life balance is one of the simplest pieces of advice and yet the hardest to achieve.
Lessons of balance
There are many important lessons one should learn when early on in their career, and balancing between work and your personal life is critical. It’s advice that is easy to give but a lot harder to take. This week I attended a management away day. The purpose of it was to bring the various department managers and senior team together to begin the first steps of working towards the company’s new vision and values. It was a great session and we came away feeling motivated and aligned across the departments.
One important lesson I came away with was that it’s not about achieving a work-life balance. It’s about achieving a work-life “blend”. In reality, there is no proven formula for the perfect balance between work and your personal life. There will be ups and downs to both. There will be times where you will need to put the extra hours in and work late. But then there will be times when you won’t be as busy and should take time off to either go on vacation, pick up that hobby again, go to the gym or whatever you like to do that brings you happiness.
So today’s tips are simple and effective ways to help you with your work-life blend.
This first tip is one I’ve seen in many of the career advice blogs, and there are many reasons why you should in fact delegate. In many cases, one of the root causes to a manager’s heavy workload and stress causes, are because they are not passing work down the chain. Guilty! I am definitely guilty of this and not just in recent years but even in my earlier jobs in retail or hospitality. But I realise now that this is the first and easiest step to ensure you are not only being an effective manager (i.e not micromanaging) but will help both parties. It will help the manager to ensure they are not keeping all the work for themselves and being too stretched, and will allow your team to be accountable and develop further in their career.
2. Make a plan of action
This one seems like an obvious one, but taking a step back and planning how you can reach a particular goal is one of the most satisfying things. Then again I’m a little OCD and love organising and planning! Hence my love of Marie Kondo and ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ (look out for more of that in my next post!). This doesn’t necessarily apply just to work, I also think creating a plan of action for how you are going to achieve a personal goal is just as important. I’ve set up a bucket-list, savings plan and an ambitious POA on developing my own business idea. I’ve set up wunderlists and even have a whiteboard with some of my goals adorned on my wall. There is something very therapeutic when putting together a plan and seeing how achievable a goal is, give it a try for yourself.
Prioritise, de-prioritise and re-evaluate. This is great advice, both for your professional life and personal life. There are key moments within a business setting where you may need to make a decision to move away from something you were initially working towards in order to minimise losses. It’s not necessarily taking a step back, but a sideways step. I often have to do this at work myself. For example when we are working multiple projects and campaigns and resources can’t stretch enough to ensure we are still delivering 100%. I have to step back and prioritise some things which in effect leads me to de-prioritise others. The same goes for personal life situations. There will be times where you have to decide to attend that party or go home and snuggle in bed to watch netflix. My choice is usually the latter. But that’s not because I don’t have time for some friends. It’s just sometimes I need time for myself. This leads me on nicely to my next tip…
4. Make time for yourself and the people/things that make you happy
This tip seems like an easy one, but can be hard if you find yourself working long hours or taking work home. However it doesn’t need to feel too excessive. Simply making small changes or adjustments can be an effective way to manage your time better. I find that having personal calendars to be an easy way to help manage your time. Again, this could just be due to me being a little OCD, but setting up a calendar on my phone and inviting my significant other makes it easier for us to schedule time to make for each other and the people and things we care about. It used to be the case where we were double-booking and finding ourselves too lazy to go out and do something because we were too tired or simply couldn’t be bothered. This often happens when you are tired from working long and busy week, but ensuring you go and meet up with friends or attend important affairs help you to find happiness in the simplest of things.
5. Leave work at work
I’m sure a lot of you are guilty of this, and I include myself in this. But taking work home both physically and mentally can be very harmful to both your professional career and personal life. Not taking a break from work can cause you to make silly mistakes and prove worse in the long run. It can also have a negative effect on your personal relationships. As you may find yourself being on the agitated side and often snapping at your family or friends. So the simple fact remains – leave work at work! When you leave the office you should leave the office. The work state of mind should stay in the office and you should go home feeling relaxed and allow yourself to do things for you. Too often do I see colleagues answering emails late in the evening or even on the weekends. This doesn’t do anyone any favours. Don’t get me wrong if it’s an emergency and you need to respond then do so. But unless you are a doctor or police officer, I’m pretty sure it’s not that much of an emergency…
So there you have it, I hope you find these tips useful. Do you have any of your own? Leave me a comment below or tweet me at @arcasela to let me know your own tips on finding the work-life blend.