FINALLY get that work-life balance thing down, in these 8 simple steps.
I think us millennials have such an amazing end of the stick in so many awesome ways, but then such a crappy end of the stick in others. One namely being the increasingly demanding work culture we live in, in the UK particularly.
The increased working hours that we're either subjected to (or voluntarily subscribing to), worryingly have such a damaging effect on our mental well-being. Here are just a few crazy stats I came across in my research of A Mental Health Foundation survey:
- 1/3 feel unhappy or very unhappy about the time they devote to work
- More than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work – which may increase their vulnerability to mental health problems too
- When working long hours, 27% of employees feel depressed, 34% feel anxious, and 58% feel irritable.
Plus, the ironic thing is, the more hours you spend working, the more hours outside of work you're likely to spend thinking or stressing about it too. Sounds a bit nuts when you say it out loud, right? Add in the fact that women tend to battle with competing life roles, and the pressure to 'juggle' more than men, and we've one hot recipe for some mental health hurdles on our hands.
Not cool honeys. And if you were intrigued by the title of this blog post and felt compelled to read it, I'm guessing you might relate to at least one of these stats too.
So what can you do about it? Are you a hopeless case, destined for a life of exhausted, over-worked-ness 'til the end of time?
No you are not 💋
But do you personally have to change stuff to stop living like this?
Erm, yes you do 💋
How to get your work-life balance thing down:
Step 1: Start strong by trying out standing up for yourself.
I believe in you. You can do it! 💪🏻 Work on graciously saying no or pushing back on work demands once in a while, and let's just see if the world does in fact crumble. If you're working for a decent company or clients, then chances are, they'll want to know if they're pushing you too hard or expecting too much of you. They know you're a valuable, hard-ass grafter and they want you to be in peak performance. A squished-head, fried-brain-you does not make for a peak performer.
Step 2: Break up your days.
When you get those hunger pangs and lunchtime's fast-approaching, don't continue to clack away at your desk until the hunger peaks and passes. Take proper breaks, eat good food, and hell maybe even use your lunchtime for fun stuff! 'Cause some real-life humans actually do that y'know – they do enjoyable stuff on their lunch breaks. True story.
Step 3: Dedicate proper time slots for stuff.
Whether that stuff's exercising, socialising, or even vegetising-on-the-sofa-ing, it all needs a slot. And by 'dedicate time', I mean don’t just hope it happens, because you know what you're like. That aint gonna happen when your laptop's nearby. Commit to making it happen instead my friend. Like a proper work-deadline-commitment. Now you wouldn't miss one of them would ye?
Step 4: Tell peeps you're leaving.
When you've done step three and committed to something outside of work, make sure you vocalise when you’ll be leaving to your colleagues and/or clients, and give them due time to request things of you well before then. As an example, 'I’m leaving at 5 so if you need me, drop me a line before 3'. This means they can't get all huffy when they try and drop one on you at 4:55pm. We've all been there. Then maybe if you start to dig your new-found work-life balance so much, and you want to establish your set leaving time as a regular thing, just keep repeating this until it sticks. Because it will eventually. You might even become a trailblazer and start a trend of other colleagues leaving on time too, helping them fulfil their own work-life balance. Now just look at what a beautifully-balanced workplace you've created 😍
Step 5: Don’t save all your crappy, errand-ey tasks for the weekend.
Because this is when you're meant to have your 'you' time. So try and squeeze some (or all) of your errands and stuff into your weekdays instead if you can, giving you more time for the fun stuff when that beautifully, majestic Saturday arrives 👸🏻
Step 6: Take a freaking break!
And not just a lunch break, a break-break. Time off. Holidays. Vaykays and staycations. I don't wanna hear that you're too busy to take time off, because you've gotta remember there’s never an easy/convenient/right time to take time off. Like ever. So just feck it and book it and plan around it, rather than being a martyr and never taking it at all. Powerfully guard your right to switch off and recharge, because it is your right. Listen to Kerry: you. need. a. break. my. dear.
Step 7: Limit your screen time to set intervals, in and out of work.
I'm talking mobile social media-checking, texting, checking email, the works. And if you're worried about missing something urgent, maybe set up an email auto-responder mentioning when you're online, with a worst-case-scenario mobile number for emergencies. Granted, some people might use it and encroach on your time occasionally, but most people will wait. And 'most people' is what you want to free yourself from. This will help you to live in, and enjoy the moment soooo much more when you're not working, it'll help you get stuff done when you are working, and it'll help you realise that the multi-tasking approach to productivity is total bullsh*t! 💩
Step 8: Try something new and challenge your brain outside of work.
Like a new class, skill, language, whatever. Now I appreciate this might sound a bit bonkers at first, given that you literally have no time on your hands right now. But y'see this is the exact point. You're not giving yourself enough reasons in your personal life, to warrant stopping work for. So basically, this step is a double-bonus: 1. you have a commitment that forces you away from work for a set time each week. And 2. you remember what it's like to actually enjoy yourself outside of work, and learning something for the pleasure of it. Oosh oosh 👊🏻👊🏻
So who are the people that get it 'right'?
First of all, let me start by saying, that there is no right or wrong way of getting this balance 'right'. By me saying people that 'get it right', I mean people that get it right for them. They've sussed what a balance feels like for them. And they make their work-life decisions for them. They've mastered the balance because they're not living for anybody else, but them.
These people know what they want their life to look like. They know how they want to spend their time. And if at any point they might digress from this balance 'cause y'know, life just happens, then they've got the cop-on to realise that stuff's sliding, and they do what they need to do to change the direction of things and get on track. They know who they are and what they value, and they use all of this to guide their decisions, their goals and their actions. They basically know what makes them happy.
So if you'd love to be 'those people', if you'd love to finally sort out your work-life balance, if you'd love to work out what genuinely makes you happy, and what you want from your life too, then don’t excuse yourself any longer. Don't keep thinking you’re going to 'start living' when you’ve finished that project/got that new job/lost that weight/moved into that new place/started that family/started your retirement(!) – none of us have those guarantees in life. You don't know you'll get that far because none of us know how far life’s gonna take us. The time is quite literally now, and can only ever BE now. There's no better time to create change, and you've nothing to lose by trying out my FREE, 5-day life plan mini-course to get your life-balance-ball rolling.
As ever, if anyone you adore seems to be constantly saying how they're the furthest from managing a work-life balance, and you think they could do with trying something new, pop 'em on this blog post, they might just thank you for it.
Until next week,