I am going to start this with the fact that balance is a myth.
As we change and evolve and test different ways of working (and living) we get into our groove but the idea we can have it all is frankly exhausting.
What is the alternative? In this article I talk about who you can find an equilibrium where you feel good about the mixture of work and life related activities in your life.
What do you want?
Write down your key goals over the next 5 years and be honest with yourself on what you are prepared to sacrifice. This is where you look at the opportunity cost of your actions. Are you willing to put everything into work and have no life outside? Probably not. Equally if you want to be a partner in a law firm what will you give up so you can put in the hours to get there.
When you look at your list hone in on the three main goals in each area and explain why they are so important to you, this will help you to keep focus when things aren’t going as planned.
What does this look like in reality?
Take a step back from the bigger picture and consider what this will look like, write down how you want to be spending your time in your ideal week and ideal month. What will you be doing, how will you be feeling?
Go back to the present
Where are you now compared to your ideal? Start to consider small, incremental changes which will help you go from where you are to where you want to be. For example maybe you want daily yoga classes in the future and you will start with 10 minutes every morning.
As Marie Kondo would say consider what brings you joy and schedule daily activities that do bring you joy outside work. Again this don’t need to be huge things – you don’t need to be meeting friends for dinner or visiting an art gallery every day and you don’t need to be hyper-scheduled either. I love the idea of putting in a scheduled time for you every day (again even if only 10 minutes) and then choosing what you feel like doing in that moment.
As with any change start small and build on the consistency.
Think about transitions
Work and business boundaries are often blurred and this can mean that we find it hard to manage our energy. We check our emails on the train, at home, first thing and that means that we don’t ever fully switch off.
Consider what you do in those transition times – when you are travelling back from work, or to pick the kids up from school what are you doing? This is a clear time that you can signal to yourself that you want to do something for you rather than work. This could be listening to a podcast, reading a book or chatting to a friend. Anything that feels more “you” time than work time.
Look after yourself first
The memes are true, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Prioritise your needs first, think about how you are looking after your body with daily exercise, healthy food and sleep. These are your basics, you don’t need to be running a marathon but moving for 30 mins a day (preferably outside), eating vegetables and getting your shut eye will mean you function better in all areas of your life.
Use this as your foundation build from there, what do choose to add is up to you but remember that this your life so you can choose how you spend your time.
About the author
Ruth is a business mentor, mindset coach and best-selling author who has worked with 1000s of clients worldwide. She combines practical business skills with a MA in Psychology and numerous coaching qualifications including NLP to help her clients build businesses they love.
Ruth works with coaches, consultants and service providers to help them build and scale their businesses and has been seen in The Metro, Women & Home, The Guardian, Psychologies, Thrive Global, Huffington Post and Business Insider.