Can you even achieve a work-life balance?
Karen Meager and John McLachlan have some advice to avoid burnout and achieve that often-elusive work-life balance.
In the fast-paced world that we live in, finding a way to strike the perfect work-life balance is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. More often than not you will find yourself being pulled in different directions, be that working tirelessly to reach your goals at work, finding time to fit in a yoga session or two a week and making sure you keep up with your social life.
It’s often difficult to know how to approach the achievement of a work-life balance as the majority of people will feel pulled in different directions, and subsequently unable to spend their day doing the things they truly want to do.
From person-to-person, the process of achieving the aforementioned balance will be different and incredibly personal. For many it will be finding the right amount of downtime, be that sitting in with a good book, or relaxing by the side of the pool.
Here are four top tips to help you achieve the perfect balance between work and play, maximising your time to perfection.
Find your rhythm
No matter what your age, or walk of life, achieving the right balance is never an easy ride and will be a process of trial and error. For a young graduate who is trying to establish themselves in their career, while also building a new life for themselves, or a parent trying to look after the house, make time for their children and work on a project for the office, it is exhausting, and something has to give.
Perhaps thinking of it as a balance isn’t the right way to tackle the oh-so daunting task, instead consider creating a daily or weekly rhythm for yourself to follow. This way you begin to remove the pressure of perfection, finding your own routine and a way of life that works best for you.
Perhaps thinking of it as a balance isn’t the right way to tackle the oh-so daunting task, instead consider creating a daily or weekly rhythm for yourself to follow.
Listen to your body
It is important to listen to your body and work out what renews you and what drains you throughout the day, providing you with the perfect recipe for success. For a week, take some time to monitor your energy levels, reflecting on what it was that took at lot of time to recover from and what you found to be refreshing.
Remember that for some, spending their weekend attending parties and socialising may be just what the doctor ordered, however, for others this could be a real drain. Perhaps for some, getting in that all important exercise by going for a run or joining an exercise class will give them that all important buzz, and for some, finding a bit of downtime will provide you with that all important energy.
Once you have found what it is that gives you that lift, you can begin to ensure that it is intertwined with your newfound routine. You can begin to plan your week with more of what fuels you and a little less of what drains you.
Before you know it, even the smallest of tweaks to your weekly routine will enable you to find a natural rhythm without even trying.
Find your healthy habits
Healthy habits are some of the easiest things to let slip when your work-life balance is off kilter, however, finding time for a 20-minute run somewhere in your day could be just the key to calming you down after a long and stressful day.
Initially this may need to be scheduled until it becomes an innate part of you; for those that prefer a little variety in their day it may be a little harder to enjoy from the off. It is important to remember the many advantages an exercise routine will provide you with, giving you free time for your mind to roam wherever it needs to.
Your healthy habits don’t have to be food and exercise related, for example, organising things like your wardrobe into sections for work and downtime will save you hours of planning.
You could also work plans for your meals into your schedule if you need to conserve some time in your day; planning out a fortnightly plan would not only save you time, but provide you with enjoyable and healthy variety.
Take your time to implement change
When it comes to changing your routines, take your time to avoid any drastic and unrealistic alterations that might unbalance you even more. Remember, you need time to adjust to changes or they will be almost impossible to maintain over time.
Making gradual changes is the way forward, for example if you are looking to add some exercise into your routine, don’t set yourself unrealistic targets. Perhaps you could start by going for a short run a few times a week and see how it fits in with your lifestyle.
It will always be far more beneficial to start with something achievable, helping you to positively affirm the changes you are making and ensure that they stay in place.
About the author
Karen Meager and John McLachlan are co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training
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