If you were to look it up in the dictionary you would find that the definition of balance goes a little like this "a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions." Look, I mean, I get what you're saying. We are supposed to have equal parts of like to equal parts of work, kind of like making up an alcoholic fruit punch- you're going to need equal parts vodka and fruit juice.. right?
So in the age when everyone seems to be "on" all the time, we value the act of being busy, we see taking some time away from being busy as lazy, technology means we can be accessible at any hour of the day- how do we create this balanced lifestyle you speak of? What does it actually look like to have balance in your life?
The reason for this post? I've been genuinely thinking about balance the last few days and the fact that maybe I don't have a lot of it. If I'm not working for the family business, then I am doing something for one of the blogs, and if I'm not doing that I'm probably doing some copywriting for someone else. I mean, right now I am writing this on Easter Saturday- shouldn't I be out eating Easter eggs right now? Why do we find it so hard to switch off, to find that balance between working and taking the time to enjoy life? Why can't I do it?
If you are much the same as me, which you probably are because we all seem to be "on" all the damn time- how can we put a little bit of balance back into our lives? How can we stop being switched on all the time and flick over to the "off" for a little while? I've done some research and I've also done a huge brainstorm (my favourite thing to do at the moment!) on how we can have a little bit more work-life balance in our lives, are you ready for this? (I actually found this quite confronting just FYI).
- Set your work hours and stick to them.
This is a hard one especially if you are your own boss. Does work ever end? Not really. But apparently, we need to set out the hours of the day that is for work and spend that time working and try our hardest to not go over.
I know that for me, I will say from 6pm that it no more work, just chill out time and then it gets to 8pm and I'm still sitting in front of my laptop, no dinner has been cooked and I am exhausted. I need to be more strict on my work hours and sticking to them.
- Schedule in personal time.
Write it in your diary like an actual appointment you can't miss and then you don't really have an excuse to not have some "life" time- right?
- Unplug from technology.
We all know what it is like to be doing something fun or just having some "you" time and a notification shows up on your phone that either makes you stress about what you have to do in your "work" time, or it makes you stop doing what you are doing and start working. We need to learn to take time away from our technology and be in the present. (I need this one!!)
- Remember to look after yourself mentally.
When you are working too much your mind will let you know about it. When you start to feel anxious or like you are in a pretty bad mindset take the time you need to look after yourself and your mind, they're important.
- Exercise regularly.
Apparently, to achieve this elusive balance we need to exercise, we need to schedule the time to release the endorphins and break a sweat. Exercise has been known to reduce stress and clear the mind, so of course, we need it to have that balance.
I do this one every day for my mental health already, so I guess that is one point for Elyssa- right?
- Prioritise your tasks.
This is so important and yet something I am still so bad at. Sometimes I'll spend all day doing things that are in the "not that urgent and not that important category" only to get home and realise that something in the "very urgent and very important" category has not been done. The best way to fix this one up is to write everything down and be aware of what needs to be done and when.
- Time to let go of trying to be perfect.
Apparently now is not the time to strive for perfection, instead, we should be striving for excellence. We may be stretching ourselves thin by taking on millions of different things, so instead of trying to make each of them perfect, we should be striving for it to be excellent. Good luck convincing everyone with that one.
- Time to say goodbye to time-wasting activities and people.
It is time to have an evaluation of what people and activities are going on in your life that perhaps are not the best use of time. Where are your priorities laying, are they in the right place for you? Make sure you are prioritising the right things for you- and not for someone else.
Here are some suggestions for maybe getting a little bit closer to that elusive concept of "work-life balance." I 100% agree that is not something you can reach overnight, even I am going to struggle making the moves needed. But, to improve our quality of life and our health, it's time that we prioritse getting close and closer to that balance.
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