If you’re asking yourself this question, you are not alone.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Even the concept of achieving a work-life balance is becoming a competition. Those people who make it to the gym most days? It’s easy to assume they’re better at achieving balance than you. Those mums who hold a high-level job and still turn up to the school play? It’s a mystery, and we are encouraged to believe that it’s all about balance.
As a result, a work/life balance has become some far-away concept. We assume that we will grasp it one day if we just finish this long-term task, reach that goal, or learn to survive on 5 hours of sleep, even as a 9 hours a night kinda person.
Well, what if I told you that the secret was much smaller than that?
Let’s break it down, and figure out exactly what achieving a work/life balance would look like for you.
Work-Life Balance is Turning the Focus On You
If you’re looking around and wondering how everyone else is managing to work for themselves, travel regularly or keep up with their demanding work out routine, then acknowledge those thoughts, sure, but just let them go.
You are not going to find the answers in someone else’s daily routine. Tips? Yes. Solutions? No way!
Your ideal balance will not resemble anybody else’s, and that’s no reason to panic and assume it can’t be done. All that means, is that the answers are within you. It’s corny, but it’s true!
So start by keeping a quick journal. Maybe you already keep one, but you might want to add these points onto your daily notes:
A 1-5 scale of how satisfied you were with your day. Don’t worry about diving into the ‘why’ just yet, just keep a rolling scale going for a few weeks.
Make a note of three things you are grateful for – tiny or huge.
These notes will help you figure out what it is that actually matters in your daily life. Spoiler – it’s often not the things you thought were super important!
Tiny Decisions, Big Impact
Got your notes ready? Set aside an hour to go through them with a fine-toothed comb. Get a feel for what contributed to your most satisfying days, and your least satisfying days.
Do you feel better if you get up early and work-out? Or when you try and relax in the evenings through gentle stretching?
Did you enjoy the days where you watched your favourite TV show or read your favourite book? Did working late make you feel satisfied?
Make notes as you go.
Which things continually appear on your gratitude list? Pick out the top 3-5 items.
Now, you should have a list of things which are proven to have added to your overall satisfaction.
Before you go overhauling your whole life, just keep that list handy for a day or two, and think about how you can positively implement these things into your day.
You’ll hopefully begin to see something come into practice… which is that the balance you seek resides in the tiny decisions, not just the huge ones.
Rebalancing your Life
Let’s try some wee examples out.
Let’s say that you go through your gratitude list, and you realise that you feel a lot more satisfied when you get to work early, and have plenty of time to get organised before your day starts.
Now, getting to work early means that the kids need to go to breakfast club/a childminder, which you sometimes feel guilty about. But then you realise that in that early time, you are also preparing for your evenings.
The days when you arrived early, you had more time to plan out what you would make for dinner, and ultimately your evening time was way more satisfactory, because you were calm, collected, and able to play that game the kids had been asking you about for weeks.
If other people are questioning why you choose to come to work early rather than stay with the kids?
That’s why this is your balance, and not theirs!
Of course, you could take the same situation and realise that you get way more satisfaction from waving them off to school yourself, and that’s great, too!
That is what this is all about. Self-reflection, identifying the points that make you question which choice is best FOR YOU, and putting them into action.
Is a Work/Life Balance Sustainable?
In a perfect world, yes. You would figure out which routine optimised your time and contentment, stick with it and live happily ever after.
But unfortunately, or fortunately, we don’t live in that blandly perfect world. Jobs change, people grow, holidays happen and we live more than we work, deadlines come and we feel like we’re working more than we live.
Learning to keep balance is all about staying in tune with yourself and not being afraid to question the habits we fall into.
It’s simple, but it isn’t easy!
So be patient with yourself, and find that balance (!!) not just between life and work, but between living and reflecting on those days.
We aren’t born knowing how to balance things wonderfully. We learn it, and we all learn it differently according to our own hopes, dreams and personalities.
Who Can Help Me Understand My Work/Life Balance
Still feeling overwhelmed?
You are already making a huge step in acknowledging that you may not be happy with your current situation. Don’t feel guilty for this, just know that you are not alone, and there are people who can support you through figuring out your unique and wonderful ideal lifestyle.
I am one of those people.
If you are ready to learn how to take back control of your life, and relinquish control of the things that actually don’t positively serve you, then let’s talk.
Everyone deserves to wake up in the morning and feel good about the day they have ahead. Even those dull things, like chores and the parts of work that you don’t love as much, those things make up part of a good work/life balance too.
This is about tiny decisions, forming good habits, and paying yourself the same care and attention that you would bestow upon your loved ones and passions.
Everyone is worthy and capable of mastering their work/life balance, so let’s set up a call and talk about yours.
Got questions? Drop a wee comment below, or catch me on Facebook!