Photo credit: Toa Heftiba, Unsplash.com
I hear you loud and clear, “oh boy, here we go… not again with this work-life balance stuff!”
But let me tell you, there’s three of us out here: me, myself, and I.
Seriously, each of us has three parallel “me’s” on an ongoing basis: my life, my work, my family. Most of us understand the work and family “me,” but we tend to forget the “me” as a person. But forgetting about yourself and not making time for you is already a warning sign; and problems, if not already there, are not too far away! Putting it another way, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will? How can you take care of others and be successful at work if you don’t take care of yourself to begin with?
So here’s the tip: find balance between your work life, your family life, and your personal life. Whatever the reason is that makes you unbalanced: passion, fear, not thinking it’s important, or not even realizing you’re doing it — getting back to balance is simply vital!
Follow these five steps to maintain balance and/or get back to a balanced life:
1. Limit your time at work.
We spend most of our time working. Some of us do it out of habit and we get so passionate we don’t even count the hours. Some of us work to provide family needs, so more work may equal more revenues. Some of us work hard out of fear — fear of losing the job or feeling like we’re just never doing enough. We easily give more time than necessary to work!
To limit that instinct, make a few rules for yourself. Respect them and make them public. For example, accept no meetings between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Switch off your emails when you leave the office. If it’s an emergency, they’ll call you. Respect your co-workers’ lives. Don’t call/email them outside of working hours.
I hear you, “how can I do all I have to do if I only work from nine to six?”
What if we look at the results vs the time spent for efficiency, instead of excuses? Do you really think you’re as productive at 8:00 p.m. in the office while your body needs dinner?
Try the new rules for six weeks — just try it for real!
2. Make time for your partner.
If you don’t have one, maybe use this time to find a partner. If you prefer remaining single make sure you have a great use of your celibacy. Whatever you do, please don’t use it as an excuse to work more. If you do have a partner, reserve him/her a special bit of time each week.
3. Enjoy your hobby.
Remember your dreams as a child? Where did they go? Maybe you’re not that ballet dancer you dreamed of but you can still go to a dancing class, right? And maybe you’re not that helicopter pilot, but you can still learn how to fly.
Don’t you deserve, say, one evening per week to be living your hobby? So make sure you’re available a few hours every week. Make a date with yourself clearly indicated in your agenda; a meeting so important that you can’t afford to miss it! “Sorry, guys, it’s Salsa evening!”
4. It’s all about plan and repeat.
For those of us who are spontaneous, planning’s not the most exciting thing to do.
And yet, if you don’t plan for it, what are the chances that you’ll actually go to that concert you really dreamed about? And what about your work? Isn’t it true that without a basic plan, you can’t do your work properly?
We plan for important things in our life. We don’t need to plan every minute, but we need to make time for the “me, myself, and I.” And the beauty of planning is that the more you repeat it, the more it becomes second nature. You may even wonder how you didn’t make time for this before!
5. It’s all about finding joy in what you’re doing.
Be focused on what you’re doing while you’re doing it.
If you’re with your partner, don’t think of work. If you’re with yourself, don’t feel guilty just because you’re not with your significant other, your kids, and so on. Be there in whatever you’re doing at that specific moment.
This not only brings efficiency, but it’s a basic rule in finding happiness! Cheers to your “me” time.
Also published on Medium.