There are so many articles written on work/life balance, it is clearly a big issue for a lot of people today. I imagine to some degree there is a generic set of recommendations that applies to all of us. But it is also something very individual as we really need to look at where the stress in our lives is coming from. For some its work, for others it may be the personal side of life whether it’s home life, relationships, health or whatever so my top work/life balance headers may be totally different to yours.
But as I leafed through lots of pieces on this issue, I picked the ones that resonated mostly with me. And some of these would not have been on the list this time last year. Ironically, with the launch of Part-time.ie, I am working full-time for the first time in over ten years, so work/life balance is a challenge for the first time in a while.
I am trying to pitch these in order of how important they are to me right now. Some aim at containing work, others enhancing our time off.
This is definitely my number 1 right now. I was not a huge user of social media up to a few months ago but now I depend on it for most of my marketing so I tend to be on it a lot, checking it first thing in the morning and last thing at night, doing exactly what I am at pains telling my children not to do!! Aside from work, the phone never stops beeping with messages about school, matches, parties etc. So sometimes, in the evening I leave the phone out of earshot. Very few messages need an instant reply. So, my recommendation is to just leave the phone/device out of earshot when you are supposed to be switching off.
Leave work at work
For some this is very difficult due to either their personality or the expectations of work. But it is very important from detach from work. Even if you are working at home, be sure to contain work to a certain part of the house and to certain hours. If you must check in with work in the evening time, try to limit it to certain hours rather than being constantly on in the evening.
Say NO sometimes
Know your limits. We all have hectic schedules every day. Over committing to doing too much or being in too many places is not good for anyone. If you are someone whose default answer is yes if you’re asked to do something extra, try taking a moment before you answer and only say yes if you really want to and know you can do it.
Make time to Exercise
I don’t need to go through the benefits of exercise both physically and mentally but the challenge here is committing to doing whatever it is works for you. Running three times a week for twenty minutes is my target but I fall short a lot of weeks as all the other commitments take over. Suffice to say that building some form of exercise in to your routine is a no brainer.
As life has become so busy for all of us, the temptation to rely of processed food is greater. I am a big believer in getting rid of as much processed food from your diet as possible. There are countless cookbooks out there for even the most basic of cooks. I am not against the quick and easy option when needed, but only as a fall back.
Most of us need 8 hours sleep a night. Some need less, some more. Whatever your magic number is, it makes a huge difference to productivity levels when you get enough sleep.
Make space for fun
Most of our life is taken over with work and family commitments and if you are not careful, that most can easily turn to all. Be sure to carve out regular little windows to have fun! Whether its catching up with friends for coffee or hiking in Carrauntoohil, everyone needs to switch off and recharge.
I have never mastered mindfulness but I know that ten or fifteen years on from now I will long for even one day of having the kids at the stage they are at now. People who are at that stage say it all the time. It’s so busy just getting through the day, its more about survival than enjoyment at times but I do try to remember how fast time flies and you don’t get to do it all again!!
So, to conclude, these are my thoughts on what works for me. Working part-time has hugely enhanced my work/life balance over the years and if a few of you reading this decide part-time hours would suit you, I’d love to see you on Part-Time.ie