How can you really achieve work-life balance? The short answer is “no” so let’s look at the long answer. You can certainly acheive a state of constant balance but it will always be dependant on what is happening in your life in the moment.
What a typical day may look like
Let’s firstly look at the maths, there are 24 hours in a day. 6-8 of those you spend sleeping. For the rest of that time, you are doing a few of the following:
- At work
- Going to any trendy wellness activity to find peace
- Checking emails
- Sending WhatsApp messages
- Sliding into someone’s DM’s
- Posting your ‘fabulous’ life on social media
- Avoiding phone calls from your boss
- Watching Netflix whilst doing the above
- Eating overpriced ‘healthy’ meals
- Trying to be fabulous in the kitchen with a food subscription
- Swiping left whilst watching Netflix
- Too tired for sex
- Too tired to meet a mate even though you both need it
- Worrying about your looks because Instagram has got you all insecure
- Downloading meditation apps and trying to zen out whilst still being connected
- Trying to feed/bath/entertain your kids but you’re too knackered so Peppa pig’s on repeat
- Watching inspirational videos by Insta-fabulous ‘living your best life guru’s’
- Comparing yourself to everyone
- Reading blogs and articles that confirm you’re close to a nervous breakdown but you keep doing all the above anyway
- Trying to love yourself but can’t quite get your head around it, so you have a bath and eat an avocado
- 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
- Denying yourself joy because of this that and the other.
The best way to create work-life balance
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.
Creating work-life balance with coaching
- Work your contracted hours. If you need to work more than usual ensure you take plenty of breaks. A change of environment is also helpful so get out of the office if you do have to work late.
Understand that you will rarely be paid for extra hours worked so remember that is your time. If you keep giving up your time for others, you will eventually lead to burnout.
- 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.
- Put your notifications 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.
Social media and work-life balance: a grey area
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. In order to truly have work-life balance, you need to first accept that an actual balance doesn’t exist. To keep a sense of balance, you need to ensure that you make conscious choices to rest as well as work.
Puja K McClymont | Certified Life Coach in London and NLP Practitioner
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