There are typically two types of people in the professional world. There are some who focus their lives around their careers and gain great satisfaction out of their professional and financial accomplishments. And there are other people who view work as a means to earn a living, but their interests lay beyond their 9-5 jobs and their career simply isn’t something that defines them.
Falling into either one of these categories isn’t a bad thing, but in order to create a happy work/life balance, you need to be able to understand which group is truly ‘you’. By doing this, you will be able to develop realistic expectations from yourself and choose career paths accordingly. Jody Greenstone Miller, an author and chief executive of Business Talent Group, says “If you want balance–and not everybody does–you have to force yourself to edit yourself personally and professionally”.
Growing up in the Armed Forces, and now being married to an Army personnel, has made me much more resilient to change, and as a by-product has made me into a work to live person out of circumstance. After University, my sights were set on achieving a high flying marketing career, where the sky was the limit and I was ready to relocate at a drop of a hat. I found a job that I loved and was working my way up the career ladder. However, reality hit after getting married and I found that I was miserable because I lived 2 hours away from my new husband and we only saw each other on the weekends. We tried commuting for a while, but this was simply exhausting, and the costs involved were astronomical.
For me the solution was very simple. I would leave my job and relocate to be closer to my husband, because that was more important to me. In the end I found a job that was 10 minutes from my house, and I was able to produce much better work because I wasn’t tired and distracted.
Everyone’s circumstances are obviously different, therefore you have to consider all of the things that compete for your time and energy, and focus on what is most important to you. This, in turn, will hopefully help you discard the unnecessary things in your life, or enable you to make the changes that will benefit your circumstance.
Here are a few examples of ways you can achieve a better work life balance:
Flexible working hours - Most companies nowadays try to adopt flexible working hours in order to suit the individual and their circumstances. If your circumstances have changed then speak to your manager and explain your situation. Your employer is more than likely to agree if it means that your productivity is going to improve and if you’re already an asset to the company.
De-stress and un-wind – Whether it’s walking away from your desk on regular intervals, taking a full hours lunch break or unwinding on your commute back home, it’s important to establish rituals and behaviours that can help you manage your energy better. Adopting these habits will hopefully enhance your relationships at home and improve your performance at work. My father-in-Law commutes 4 hours a day, and in order to un-wind on his journey back home he listens to audio books. This is a great way to shift your focus from work and also make your monotonous commute enjoyable.
Fight the guilt – I’d definitely categorise myself as a people pleaser, but sometimes you need to accept that you can’t devote 100% to everyone and everything. Learn to say no from time to time so that you can focus on activities that actually mean something to you and you enjoy.
Technology ban – Technology makes life so much easier but it’s also a quick ‘go to’ for checking emails or making a “quick phone call”. Sooner or later it controls your life. I’ve known someone to take their laptop to their 25th wedding anniversary celebration in Barbados and spent large amounts of time working indoors instead of enjoying himself. Make sure you allocate tech-free times at home i.e. dinner time, so that you and your family can all enjoy each other’s company without distractions.
Nitika Frost, Client Services Executive
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the processes we use to learn in today’s world.
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