How can you really achieve work-life balance? The short answer is “no” so let’s look at the long answer. You can certainly achieve a state of constant balance but it will always be dependant on what is happening in your life in the moment.
What a typical day may look like
Let’s firstly look at the maths, there are 24 hours in a day. 6-8 of those you spend sleeping. For the rest of that time, you are doing a few of the following:
Going to any trendy wellness activity to find peace
Sending WhatsApp messages
Sliding into someone’s DM’s
Posting your ‘fabulous’ life on social media
Avoiding phone calls from your boss
Watching Netflix whilst doing the above
Eating overpriced ‘healthy’ meals
Trying to be fabulous in the kitchen with a food subscription
Swiping left whilst watching Netflix
Too tired for sex
Too tired to meet a mate even though you both need it
Worrying about your looks because Instagram has got you all insecure
Downloading meditation apps and trying to zen out whilst still being connected
Trying to feed/bath/entertain your kids but you’re too knackered so Peppa pig’s on repeat
Watching inspirational videos by Insta-fabulous ‘living your best life guru’s’
Comparing yourself to everyone
Reading blogs and articles that confirm you’re close to a nervous breakdown but you keep doing all the above anyway
Trying to love yourself but can’t quite get your head around it, so you have a bath and eat an avocado
Dreading going to sleep because then you’ll wake up and go to a job that doesn’t ‘let’ you have a work-life balance
Denying yourself joy because of this that and the other.
The best way to create work-life balance
I’ve probably left out a bunch of things that you do with the other 16-18 hours. If we just look at those numbers, there are still 16-18 hours in your day.
You don’t need to fill every single moment with an activity and you certainly shouldn’t be filling lots of your time with social media/mindless browsing.
Connecting with people is the best most effective way to create some level of work-life balance. Relationships are at the core of us being human – remember, we’re human, not robots.
Creating work-life balance with coaching
Work your contracted hours. If you need to work more than usual ensure you take plenty of breaks. A change of environment is also helpful so get out of the office if you do have to work late. Understand that you will rarely be paid for extra hours worked so remember that is your time. If you keep giving up your time for others, you will eventually lead to burnout.
Don’t just schedule meetings, schedule fun. Regularly. I’m talking about meeting up with your favourite people, doing your favourite things. Don’t just aimlessly fill your time with ‘stuff’ – do more soul-smiling things.
Put your notifications on a timer. I say this to every single person I work with no matter what they’re working towards. Don’t consume anything external until you get paid to. Switch the notifications off at least 2 hours before bed and don’t take your phone to bed with you. If you use it for your alarm, whilst not ideal, just make sure those notifications are off and don’t do anything on your phone when in bed.
Social media and work-life balance: a grey area
If your work revolves around the internet, social media etc and you’re complaining about not having work-life balance, then you need to decide if you have enough boundaries with your work. If you are looking at this during working hours, there really is no need to look afterwards. You need to create those boundaries and stick to them.
These are a couple of broad examples, I know, they won’t apply to everyone. In order to truly have work-life balance, you need to first accept that an actual balance doesn’t exist. To keep a sense of balance, you need to ensure that you make conscious choices to rest as well as work.
I’m Puja McClymont – certified coach, wisdom teacher, speaker and host of the SELF Care 101 podcast.
I help professionals who are seeking direction and contentment in their lives by taking their work, health and relationships to a new level of success, so that life becomes more impactful, meaningful and fulfilling.
Through wisdom traditions and modern personal-development techniques, I teach you how to understand your Self better to achieve your goals.