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My Method to Work-Life Balance

Posted in AutumnLondonOffice5 essentials

getting it together

I’m not sure why I’m even writing this post as if I have my entire life together? To think I have the whole method to work-life balanceconcept of work-life balance down is a bit laughable, but over the last few years I’ve gotten a lot better in determining when it was time to throw in the towel and take an evening off or a weekend to do just about nothing. You see, as someone who wears multiple hats with consultant in the AM and blogger in the PM {and into the early AM really} it’s hard to understand when it is an appropriate time to step away from the desk.

Honestly, I’ve written about this before in the time when I was a slave to my own labor. I covered topics in a previous post that were broader and really showed the importance of taking time off. Since then, I’ve come up with a methodology, a system that has worked for me and my stubborn behavior. So, here’s my method to work-life balance, but we’re still working on it…

My Method to Work-Life Balance
My Method to Work-Life Balance

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look at each week like an equation

I’ve alluded to this in my productivity post, but I like to go into a new week with an idea of how it’s going to look. I outline 2-3 major goals I want to accomplish by Friday and set up about 15 small tasks throughout the week to get me there. After scheduling in those 15 tasks, I make a point to add in minimum 3 workouts to have some “me time.” Finally, I schedule in time with friends/family and then incorporate personal admin (laundry, errands, etc). Try to keep each day a mix of personal and work, so it feels less overwhelming and more exciting as you will constantly have something to look forward to. A method to work-life balance is a bit scientific!

My Method to Work-Life Balance
My Method to Work-Life Balance

mindset

One of the hardest things to do, but it is the most rewarding—when I was working after university I never thought about how I would probably be more efficient if I was taking breaks. The whole concept of ‘work smarter, not harder’ was not something I ever came across until I was sitting on the floor of my kitchen with a tub of ice cream on my lap and just crying because I was so tired and felt gross. I forced myself to challenge reality and from that point forward I was incorporating breaks in the days and time off during the week. You may think that you can work through and persevere, but you can’t… trust me.

I had a really short turn around for a report I had to deliver and was trying to juggle some other tasks with it. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even think straight. In the end, I completed the easier tasks and decided to go for a walk and take some photos {which ultimately gave birth to my Instagram}. Came back 45 minutes later, with super hot chocolate in my belly, and I was ready to go! I do work under pressure, but coming back after emancipating myself from all the stress for a bit—I brought on a new perspective and finished right on the dot.

My Method to Work-Life Balance
My Method to Work-Life Balance

timers and alarms

It’s true that I set my alarm for 30 minutes three times a day to reply to emails. I even set alarms on my phone, that are set on “everyday” for me to take a break for lunch and then again for a walk and coffee at 4pm. It might sound silly to have your phone or some wired device dictate your life, but we live in the 21st century and I think we’ll be operated by robots soon anyways.

I also set an alarm for 10:30pm, which is when I force myself to remove my make up and brush my teeth and slip into pajamas for bed. You need concrete rules for your method to work-life balance.

limit time wasters

Again, I’ve shared my feelings about time wasters both in human form and tasks in my productivity post… I will say it again, I really hate them. There are people and things that work just very differently than you do sometimes. I have friends that I get along fine with, but they might not show up somewhere on time or cancel or change plans last minute. I don’t think it’s sustainable to just cut people out who don’t really follow your life rules, but maybe those people can be limited to days where you have a bit more time on your hands? I have a friend, with a great personality, that just doesn’t get it sometimes. If we agree to meet at 6pm, she arrives at 630pm. Most of the time, I will give her the EXACT location to meet and she will end up somewhere else. Since she is, in the end, one of the most loyal people I know I haven’t cut her out. Instead, I meet with her on weekends when I have a bit more time and don’t mind sitting an extra 30 minutes in a cafe on my own waiting for her. They hinder your method to work-life balance.

In terms of work, if you have a client that drives you up the wall with the little things, then liaise them or “herd them” as I would like to say. Push them in the box that works for you and allows you to spend less time on them.

My Method to Work-Life Balance
My Method to Work-Life Balance

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reward system

Yes, I’m a child and an adult at the same time. I do give myself treats when I deserve it most. I literally keep a stash of chocolates in my kitchen cupboard that I go into when I’ve done something spectacular or accomplished everything I’ve needed to. That’s the little stuff though.

The real reward is this: write down 3 things that you love to do that makes you forget about your phone. Now treat yourself to at least one of those things a week preferably at the end of a week or perhaps you have a really long day on Tuesday. I have a list of rotating favorites based on seasons and I always schedule in one of those rewards, which is completely separate from “personal time” I mentioned above in the first point.

So, let’s be real for a second. Balance is not something that just comes naturally and people just glide through their weeks, but it is something you have to consciously do. It takes time, effort and fighting with your own demons. In the end, however, you come out victorious and that much further in life too! As always, I’m open to hearing about what has worked for you! There is the term ‘balance’ in your method to work-life balance!