by Eileen Moloney, Head of Marketing at Brightwater
These days work-life balance can seem impossible to achieve. We need to arrive at a point where we can manage our jobs to a point of loving not only our jobs again but our lives too and being able to balance both. So how can we change work-life balance to work-love balance?
Work-life balance means different things to different people. However it is universally agreed that in this era of advanced technology, constant contact and ever increasing expectations in the work-place, for many, work can cause huge amounts of stress, damaging health, relationships and ultimately our ability to do our jobs.
We need to get to a stage where we can at least feel that we’re achieving something in both our professional and personal lives. So how can we change work-life balance to work-love balance? Before making any rash decisions to quit your job and run off to be a hermit in the woods, take a look at our tips outlined below to ensure that while you may not achieve total work-life balance but we can certainly get to work-love balance!
While technology can massively help us in work, quite a lot of the time, it can hinder our lives. The need to be constantly connected (and to respond in kind) is never going to achieve that level of balance that is needed. Switch off! There are times when you just need to unplug your connectivity and enjoy the actual moment. Whether it’s simply enjoying a dinner with your significant other, taking your kids to the park or simply relaxing into your sofa, make quality time actual quality time.
If you truly can’t switch off for all of your downtime or you do need to be accessible, then create boundaries. When you’re on holidays, you should be on holidays. Don’t take your laptop / phone to bed with you or keep it with you at the dinner table. Agree these boundaries with your boss so that you’re not worrying about what they think if you’re not accessible or answering emails / calls for that particular period of time. You’d probably be surprised at how few people actually notice you’re not online. Remember that sometimes these expectations can be created only by you and are not actual expectations by your boss.
This encompasses the basics; exercise and meditation. It’s a well- known fact that exercise can reduce stress and can trigger feel-good endorphins. If you go to a gym for exercise, that’s again getting away from the office / phone where you can just switch off and concentrate on getting / keeping fit. If your exercise simply consists of walking the dog or jogging alongside your child on a scooter, at least you’re getting fresh air as well as exercise.
So many work therapist experts recommend meditation as a way of switching off. There are plenty of apps available if you’re not sure how to start. No-one can say that they don’t have 15 minutes in a day to switch off, whether it’s on a commute or at lunchtime or just before you go to bed. Time is a person’s most valuable asset so make sure to carve out some time for yourself.
If you’re genuinely finding it tough, not just some of the time but all of the time, to balance the requirements of your job with your own life, then it’s definitely time to talk!
- Talk to your boss – see if there’s a way of restructuring your workload. They may not even be aware of the size of your responsibilities or what you do on a daily basis. Rather than lose a valuable employee, they may be able to help restructure your workload and delegate projects.
- Talk to your team – some of them may be keen to step up and take over some of your projects / daily tasks. It’s a chance to upskill for them and to take on more responsibility. They also should be stepping up so that you are able to take your annual holidays without worrying about what’s going on in the office.
- Talk to your family – are there some responsibilities they could be taking over at home or are they just expecting you to do everything because you always have?
- Talk to a recruiter – if you have already spoken to work and nothing has changed, then perhaps you need to see what other options are out there for you. Employers are becoming more and more conscious of attracting and retaining good staff so they’re offering an increasingly expanding list of varied benefits such as flexible working, remote working, subsidised canteens, yoga classes on site and mentoring programmes; all to make your life easier.
- Talk to yourself – this is easily the most important part. Be really honest! Are you putting unnecessary pressure on yourself or if the pressure comes from external sources, then are you really happy? If you’re not motivated in your job or have a goal in sight, then maybe it’s time to make a change. Why should you spend time doing something you’re not happy doing?
The truth is we CAN’T do it all! The whole idea of work life balance is that it is fluid. Sometimes work takes over our lives but it shouldn’t do so all the time. If we constantly focus on doing it all, then we’ll end up feeling a failure and letting other people down. We need to focus on being kinder to ourselves and loving our work and lives again!