Work-Life Balance the Easy Way

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  • Tips
  • November 22 2017
Work-Life Balance the Easy Way

Work-life balance, think of it in terms of a seesaw with work on one side and personal life on the other and all you have to do is keep the weight balance right for you

Should be simple right?! I'm pretty sure however that most people feel like it's more of a trapeze; spinning, twisting and falling, but it's ultimately a circus act gone horribly wrong.

When you get home late from work and the kids are at the peak of their hyperactivity for the day (why wouldn't they be when you're tired and stressed) and you're ready to put them on Gumtree advertising for a new home, the dog is spinning around in circles yelping excitedly for a walk (it's never just a walk - it's an expedition) and your partner is moaning that dinner isn't ready (you've now got a pan at the ready but it isn't for cooking) you feel like you could just SCREAM!

The Hollywood Diva

Why cant they all understand that you are physically and emotionally exhausted and you need some support? Is it necessary for your child (spawn of satan) to bang a spoon on the drum that he was given as a Christmas gift 4 years ago and never used before, the second you walk through the door? Is your partner so incapable of providing food for the family that they can't even open the Dominos app and order a pizza? No-one at all thought to walk the (you didn't even want in the first place as you knew you would end up having to do everything) dog? And you wonder if they can they feel your hatred towards them right now and if you have the 'looks could kill' thing going on. You hope so otherwise they are going to be pretty shocked when you start screaming and snarling like a Hollywood diva who's just discovered the brown M&M's haven't been removed from the bowl.

Never-Ending Workdays

I myself feel as though my workdays are never-ending; the lines between office hours, evenings and weekends - even holidays are so blurred that I give myself a migraine attempting to work out when work stops and my own personal life kicks in. Even after a visit to the Opticians for an eye test, I still can't figure it out. I love my job, the company, my colleagues so why do I always feel one step away from having a spectacular meltdown at a ridiculously inappropriate moment? At some point I have obviously let the work part of my life shift into the personal side and it has a detrimental affect to not only my personal time but to my health. The sad thing is that I am not alone; it is incredibly common in the UK due to an increasingly demanding work culture.

Not The '12 Steps Guide To Recovery'

There are several things we can do to help ourselves - the first is admitting we have a problem! Please don't fear that this will turn into a 12 steps guide to recovery, I'm far too busy for that so here are a few tips:

  • Learn when to let it go - Think of the annoying girl from Frozen belting out 'Let it go!' - do exactly that. Notoriously difficult for perfectionists but the time obsessing over the smallest of details is contributing to your impending burnout. Simply learn what's important and what isn't. I for one, have opted to let go of my obsessive formatting corrections in Excel. I will not fly into an irrational rage when my colleagues do not use the correct shade of blue or have aligned text to the left instead of the centre (deep breath...)
  • Technology shut down - Phones, tablets, computers, laptops etc, switch them off when you need 'me' time. It's far too easy to stay in touch now but there is a limit; being interrupted for example when you are trying to 'reconnect' (wink wink) with your partner isn't one. This is potentially a cost saving measure too, think of how much less you'll have to charge all the bloody things as each battery regardless of the device seems to last 4 and a half minutes.
  • Prioritise your time - If there are any parts of your day spent in a less than productive manner, cut them out both at work and at home. Prioritise tasks at work and discuss with your boss their expectations of you and boundaries in regards to availability outside of work and overtime. At home, prioritise time with your family over housework.
  • Exercise - The dog can actually help here believe it or not. Exercise can improve your health and the boost of endorphins will make you feel less like a royally ticked off grizzly bear. Who knows, it may even make you smile that day and start exercising the muscles in your face again too!
  • Ask for help - Do not be afraid to speak with your boss, colleague, partner, friends etc to let them know if you feel one step away from rocking back and forth in a corner in the foetal position. Utilise the support system around you instead of constantly being the support system for everyone else.
  • One of the best ways to ask for help is Task Junkies. How about posting a task for someone to do your basket of ironing once a week? Then you no longer have to wonder whether anyone will notice another of your child's crumpled un-ironed school shirts. How about assistance cleaning the house? Imagine the sheer delight of coming home to find no sink full of dirty dishes, the bin has been emptied and the toilet roll replaced? Instead of feeling frazzled at the weekend trying to get the shopping done, grass cut and/or car washed - get those tasks on and await your Task Junkie saviour. You could instead be relaxing at the weekends with the kids (or without your call, you could always post a task for a babysitter), get some exercise, catch up with friends, drink a couple of glasses of red wine - whatever. Perhaps think of a dog walker too so you don't have to avoid making eye contact with the dog when you get home (damn those big brown eyes increasing your feelings of guilt) as Task Junkies can assist you there too.
  • If you feel the work situation may not be resolved to your satisfaction, perhaps it is time to look and see what other jobs are out there. Indeed is a great jobs site that has something for everyone. Although, the first thing people tend to do when they think about the prospect of job hunting is 'Oh god, my CV!'. Well, Task Junkies have got you covered there too; post a task explaining you need a new/re-formatted CV and choose from a list of bidders who you feel has the necessary experience and skill set to assist you. A couple of emails back and forth and you could have an excellent new CV and be impressing potential employers in no time.

When you recognise you are experiencing burn-out, your work-life balance is a circus act. By acknowledging the issues, addressing them one by one and putting measures in place to help, you are taking back control. The Mental Health Foundation has great information on their website where they advise the signs of an unhealthy balance, how you and your employer can help, and resources to cope with stress. Family Lives is another useful website which provides great tips in managing work-life balance in terms of time with your children.

Task Junkies really want to help you too; post a task and begin to reap the rewards of regaining your work-life balance.

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