Monday, 25 February 2019

Finding My Work-Life Balance

Finding My Work-Life Balance

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The elusive work-life balance. 

That magical harmony created between your working life and actual life that stops you stressing and becoming overloaded. 

I don't think I've ever met anyone who has been able to completely and utterly achieve this: some may have found it for a while and then lost it again, and some find it hard to achieve it at all. 

I think the problem with society today is that we're all trying to achieve this perfect work-life balance that stays forever once we have it without doing much work to maintain it. 

If we go around with this idea of perfection in our heads, like with many things, there will be an even greater fall when you realise it'll never be what you're imagining in your head. 

I cannot tell the number of times I've vowed to stick to it like my life depended on it, only to fail it and return to level 1. 

However, one day I decided to stop focussing on this idea of perfection, and come up with my own work-life balance that worked for me, stopped me going insane and didn't matter too much if I fell off the bandwagon. 


SEPARATE WHAT IS WORK AND WHAT IS LIFE


The first thing I did was define what exactly I would count as 'work' and as 'life'. The biggest problem that I had been finding was that the lines seem really blurred between the two, meaning I would find myself working at ridiculous times of the evening when I should have been winding down. 

If you are self-employed or a freelancer like me, this will be the main thing holding you back. As you work a lot from home, there is no clear boundary between work and life like there would be if you worked in an office. At the end of the working day, you physically get out of the chair you've been slumped in for the past 8 hours, put your coat on and leave. 

When you work at home, you can't really 'leave' work unless you have an office that you can physically close a door on. I would love an office one day, but right now my work station is at my dining table, meaning I can't physically separate myself. 

So I decided to lay out exactly what would fit in these two categories. The biggest thing was realising that social media and Youtube would technically count as work seeing as I spend half my time blogging, even though I don't do it as a full-time job. If I stopped writing a blog post, editing or doing emails and then went straight onto social media for the rest of the evening, I wasn't really switching off. 

CREATE YOUR WORK SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT


Once I had laid down my boundaries, I then looked at how I would schedule my work. I decided that I would start at 9am and stop at 7pm. Seeing as I was including social media as work, this meant I was keeping my phone on Do Not Disturb until I started work at 9am, and not going on it so much in the evening. 

Seeing as I don't now jump on my computer straight away when I get up, it's given me time to get up slowly, meditate, read, and eat my breakfast in a relaxed manner before the emails start rolling in. 

This more relaxed start to my day has resulted in my days being more productive, rather than burning out mid-afternoon as I rush to get things done. 

Then, at the end of the day, turning off my laptop at a certain time created the definition I needed between work and life, allowing me to relax a lot more than I used! No more typing up blog posts well into the night for me. 


LISTS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND


As I work from home a lot, I find making lists (possibly my fave things to write out ever) a great way of structuring my work time to get things done. But the difference between my list-making now and a year ago is that I'm more picky with what I put on them. 

Gone are the days where I used to add an insane amount of things to my list which realistically I knew I couldn't get done in one working day- unless I wanted to find myself at 4am holding my eyes open with matchsticks. 

Now, I assign myself a task every couple of hours, allowing time for me to take a short break every hour to get up and away from my laptop, as well as an hour for lunch instead of working through it. 

As well as making a list of tasks for every day, I have a weekly list of things I want to achieve each week, as well as monthly tasks that I try and fit in to do. I've even started a list of things that I want to do during the evenings to relax like reading, doing my nails, or working on my travel scrapbook as otherwise, I ended up sitting in front of the TV the whole time watching back-to-back true crime episodes on Netflix. 

BALANCE YOUR SOCIAL ARRANGEMENTS WITH YOUR WORK


Even though I have days when I'm at home all day, meaning I can work consistently, there are other days where I'm popping into London for auditions, events, or even just to meet up with friends. 

Now, I'm not saying cancel all your plans so you can work because where's the fun in that?! 

What I've had to do is look at my calendar each week to see when my day will be broken up with going out, and then work out the days I can dedicate to catching up. 

For instance, I like to use Friday's as my day to shoot content for Instagram, this blog and my Youtube channel, so if I have to go to an audition on a Friday, then I work out another day that I can shoot. 

In the past, I've just completely written off tasks if I'm going out, meaning I've gotten behind with posting content which I reaaallyyyy hate, but this allows me to organise my time better. 

ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR THE GYM 


No excuses. Get your butt down to the gym. 

It can be so easy to write off going to the gym to get work done. I personally like to go to the gym mid-morning as its so quiet, meaning I get my pick of the equipment, so all I do is factor this into my working day. 

This is the reason why I choose to work until 7pm rather than the standard working day at 5pm, so I can still get a good workout in and shower after without thinking I'm not being productive with my time. 

ALLOW FOR A LITTLE SPONTANEITY


Even if you end up with your perfect working schedule, don't be afraid to say yes to an opportunity if it comes your way. 

The amount of times I've wanted to turn down an opportunity because I feel like I need to work is actually hilarious and a little shocking. 

I think that comes down to that comfort blanket of routine, of the fear of stepping out of that. But if you've suddenly been asked to go and meet a friend you've not seen in years, or go on a girly holiday that means you'll have to book time off work, then just say yes if it's something that'll make you happy!

Sometimes we automatically put work over our own happiness, so maybe make this the year that you turn this around. 

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Have you worked out a work-life balance, or are you still trying to figure yours out? I'd love to know your thoughts. 

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2 comments

  1. So important! I currently work full time and blog part time so it's definitely a struggle defining what is work and life, but I think a more structured approach to what is blog time will definitely help me in future

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