You can either be successful at work, have a good social life, or have time for your family. Choose two, you can’t have it all.
This has been a long-lasting conception, and it does tend to feel very true, especially in the middle of the week when tasks are piling, teachers are calling, and someone’s just invited you to a birthday celebration. There is no time. You can’t balance it all.
True – it is hard to achieve a perfect work-life balance, and often life requires compromises, and sacrifices. But the word impossible should not come to mind.
You can have a positive work-life balance, but it takes a bit of training, and experimentation:
- Prioritise, and do it with no guilt.
No one likes saying “no” at work, or at home. But there are nice ways to say no, and justify your actions. Often people will ask you to do what’s optimal to them, but agree to what is simply convenient. You don’t always need to hit the highest expectations. Prioritise, plan and deliver realistic results in realistic time-frames.
- Know when you peak.
A night owl, a morning person, a lazy after-lunch napper? Set your tasks so they reflect your productive peaks and downs as closely as possible. Yo’ll feel the positive impact on your work-life balance sooner than you thought.
- A little investment in time-saving services can go a long way.
No, we don’t mean paying someone else to do your work. But investing in premium service for delivery in a convenient time slot, or investing into a home maintenance plan, so you know an engineer can be on the way as soon as something breaks – these things can really make a difference when you most need the time.
- Don’t do chores on a weekend.
Easier said than done you think. But think twice – most of our weekend chores pile up because we don’t spend little amounts of time during the week keeping on top of them. Washing the dishes right after a meal, wiping the dust off the shelf, cleaning the bath when you finish with it, or doing a quick hoover around the room – all of these take 5-10 minutes separately. Pile them up, and one of your precious working days is gone.
- Have a bed time routine.
Spare 15 minutes before bed for yourself – brush your teeth, clean your face, read a chapter. Give your mind some time to start switching off, and you might start falling asleep faster.
- Make one night your night.
Dedicate one night a month to yourself. Pint and a pizza? Hot bath? Cinema for one? Taking just an evening off from the family and friends can really help you recharge and disconnect.
- Stretch at work.
Whether it’s a desk job, or you’re active on your feet, make sure you stretch your tense points at least once per hour. It could be as simple of standing up for a few minutes, or going to the toilet or just stretching your arms, and shaking your legs quickly.
- Take that break, take that holiday.
Different workplaces, and settings allow for different flexibility but whenever there is the option for a break or a holiday – take it. Don’t compare yourself with others, and don’t conform to unwritten rules. There is a reason they remain unwritten.
What are your secrets for a work-life balance?