I don’t think I ever stop talking to people about a work life balance. I mean, it’s so important. For helping to switch off. For rest an relaxation so you can come back refreshed and ready to smash it again (productivity). But most importantly, for you doing you.
I know that everyone is individual, and some love and live their career. Working makes them happy. But you need a healthy balance otherwise you can burn out. You need to keep the energy, productivity and motivation flowing too.
I see so many work long days, as I used to. I used to feel a bit guilty leaving ‘on time’, or even just 10 minutes after. But you really do have to look after yourself, because who else is going to. Staying to finish work doesn’t show senior team members if you’re struggling with work load. It can reflect badly on your time management skills and in some places can then become expected. In fact, it’s so easy to make this a habit once you start.
It also might not surprise you that it’s not just the things inside the office which can impact how you feel about your current role. Therefore getting that balance, and allowing more time to ‘do you’, can really benefit overall happiness and fulfillment.
So if your struggling to get that balance back in your life, here are a few tips or insights from myself, my colleagues and some of my closest human beings – because everyone is different, and hopefully one or two of these might help you.
Katy McPhedran (Little Winter) on tackling it when freelance:
“Working in freelance, and in particular, social media, makes it pretty hard to just switch off. When I first became a freelancer, I found that I was working way more hours than if I was in an office, thinking I needed to be available around the clock, however five months in, and I’m slowly learning the importance of the work/life balance. I won’t feel as guilty if I head out to meet a friend at 4pm, because there are other days when I’ll be at my desk 8am-8pm but I make sure I keep my weekends to myself. Oh and I don’t take my laptop anywhere with me! That helps too.”
Erica Vonderwall (imbeingerica.com) on how she keeps the balance and what she does to help her mental health:
“Here’s the thing: as much as I love the people I work with, and (mostly) the work that I do: I’d still rather *not* have to work. I’d rather be travelling, eating my way around the world, or at the very least: petting other people’s dogs all day. So, for me, having a balance between my work day and my non-work day is super important, and actually, keeps *me* balanced – mentally. We need time to switch off from pressure and stress, and recuperate in a way that works for us, and for me, that is genuinely petting other people’s dogs. Last year I joined Borrow My Doggy, and my mental health has never been better. I am lucky too, to work for a company that believes that mental health is something to be nurtured; because of that, I am able to work from home one day a week so I can mind my little doggy pal, Monty. By being in the office only four days a week I am able to switch off better and longer, making my office days more productive and positive, and my out-of-office days more filled with dogs.”
Soph Rosie, who’s juggling multiple projects alongside a full time career:
“For me, having a hobby and something completely separate to my ‘day job’ really helps. It ensures that I switch off from ‘work-work’, and my blog gives me that creative outlet that I don’t necessarily have with my job. Exercise also massively helps. I couldn’t recommend signing yourself up to an exercise class or the gym (but make sure it’s something you enjoy and want to do)! And finally, I always have to be strict with myself! I find myself at work thinking ‘I can take my laptop home and finish this after dinner’. At that point I know I’ve gone to far and instead make sure I go home, light a candle and read and wind down.”
Helen (The Hels Project), mum and full-time web editor:
“I work full-time as an editor for a property website, mainly from home. My husband and I also have a toddler who is at nursery part time. So I have to manage my time very carefully and find a balance between life, parenting and work. I don’t want to spend the time with my son worrying about work. Even though this often means I end up working into the evenings once he’s in bed, so work time creeps into “me time” more than I like. Forest is an app I started using which stops me from getting distracted by my phone while I’m working, and I use it when I’m with Dougie too so I don’t spend my time with him checking my phone. I make sure I take some time for myself in the evenings, even if it’s just 20 minutes reading in bed, or taking a bath so I can switch off from work – and parenting!”
And from me:
“For me it’s all about filling my diary around work with all the things I love. Whether it’s a dinner out, drinks with one of the girls at mine, or a cosy night in with my boyfriend. It all goes in so I can see what I have coming up and have stuff to look forward to. It also makes sure I’m not tempted to stay in the office when it gets busy. I make sure I take my lunch breaks, and have even started running 2-3 lunchtimes a week. Having this goal helps me to get away from my desk!
I make sure I get away from it all too with breaks home to see the family. As well as scheduling evenings of ‘me time’ to just look after myself. Or to spend the evening binge-watching something trashy and doing my blog or nails. It all helps me in balancing work and social life, and being happy overall.”
Hopefully this might have given you some extra inspiration to help you manage that work-life balance a little better. Remember, you need to lookout for you. And work life balance is so important! Make it a top priority this year and I’m sure you’ll see the benefits shining through!
What else do you do to help keep a good work life balance?