It’s incredibly unhealthy to live and breathe work every second of every day; but at the same time, it won’t do your career any good if your sole focus rests on the other side of the office wall. What you need is the best of both worlds; and that’s where the joy of work-life balance comes into play.
But because we know it can be a bit of a Holy Grail in its own right, we’re here to give you a helping hand by sharing our own top tips.
Find your own balance
The most important thing in life should always be your own wellbeing. Listen to your needs — both physically and emotionally — and if you feel like the balance in your life isn’t quite right, it’s time to do something about it. Of course when it comes to work-life balance there are no rules — it's for you to prioritise, make adjustments and figure out exactly how much you can give.
Stress can be addictive: don’t get hooked
Adrenaline can be devilishly exciting because it makes you feel productive and energetic, but too much of it can leave you stressed and irritable; and after a while, you’ll simply burn out. It can be all too easy to keep pushing yourself without taking time to relax, but cooling down after an adrenaline high is as important as it is after exercise; which is why you need to regularly give yourself some soothing ‘me time’.
Let go of the pressure
We know that you won’t mind a little constructive criticism, so we’re just going to come out and say it: some of us hog the workload because being busy makes us feel really important. We fall into a pattern where we’re over-worked (muttering such well-known phrases as “I do everything around here”) and feel resentful, but don’t let others help. Learn to let your colleagues take some of the weight off your shoulders and you’ll have far more time on your hands. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It really is that simple.
Ok, we’re not saying to approach work with no intention of making an effort, you should always work to the best of your ability, but it’s important to recognise when you’re doing your best, and when you’re persistently being a perfectionist. Trying to get your work spot on is all well and good, but going over the minutia when it’s already finished to an acceptable standard means you’re unlikely to achieve any sort of balance, because you’ll have so many other projects to catch up on.
Manage your time at work — and don’t let it spill into your home life
Being willing to take on extra work is admirable; but not when it stops you from doing your own job or interferes with your personal life. This also applies to taking work home with you, which is the surest way of blurring the work-life divide. If you’re asked to take on work that’s outside your job description, be absolutely certain that it won’t conflict with anything else before saying yes. If you do want to take on extra responsibilities, look at your current commitments and see where you could cut some slack.
Savour the weekend
Keeping one weekend free every month — where you hold back from making any commitments — can make a real difference to your work-life balance. You could use it to spend some quality time with your partner, family or friends, or just enjoy relaxing by yourself. And if the fancy takes you, take an impromptu adventure by hopping on a train to somewhere new, or spend the whole day in your PJs watching box sets or reading your favourite book.
The biggest thing to remember is that if you constantly find yourself pulled from pillar to post, you need to take a step back, look at where all of your energy is going, and make a real effort to divide your commitments between work and life in a way that works for you. Everyone is different; it’s about finding your own happy balance.
And if you do need a helping hand in figuring out how to redress that balance, get in touch with us for a spot of advice.
Download our guide to striking the perfect work-life balance