We all have those loaded days at work, that transform into heavy weeks, then months, and years, and we seem to stay stuck in a rut of long working hours, little social interactions and no private time. We promise ourselves that once New Year comes, we’ll make a list of resolutions, or work a plan that will change everything in our life. Yet, one month into that plan, and we get back to our old habits and old frustrations.
Now, I don’t have a magic potion for you, and I don’t promise you that things will work right away (it’s still a continuous learning process for an attitude and mind shift), but I do have a couple of tips for you to incorporate into your life, or at least give them a try and adapt some to your own lifestyle needs. As psychologists say: “It’s time to Sway”.
So, here we go:
– Periodically Shift Your Priorities.
First, forget about fixed plans to improve your life. The key to really achieving a work-life balance is by setting your priorities according to your activities and duties during a week. For example, you have a big project at work that needs your full attention. So, you’ll spend two weeks focusing on getting the job done, meanwhile being more absent socially. But, once it’s finished, have a week where you’ll spend more time socializing, going to family reunions, having often outings, simply enjoying your time off work. Pretty much like a baby swing, that goes back and forth from work life to your social life. You can also combine and shift your priorities during one and the same week, your call. The idea is to channel your energy into one thing at a time. The result – more productivity at work, and guilt-free social life.
P.S. Don’t forget to announce this new strategy to those you work with and your social circle so that to avoid any confusions.
– Plan Ahead.
At work, tasks are never-ending and working hours never seem to suffice. Yet, you can’t simply give up on life because of that. A simple solution will be to see your week as a bigger picture and plan ahead, when possible. For example, you already have a routine at work and at home, so you usually can predict when surprises will happen. With this in mind, try to religiously incorporate one or two nights a week, where you’ll stick to your family commitments or go out with friends/see a concert/visit an exhibition/go to the gym/attend a self-improvement class/etc. This, of course, means that you commit to not answering any work-related e-mails or calls. (Tough one, I know! But it’s doable). Consequently, you’ll have a full week of work-tasks accomplished, plus a fulfilling night spent in a relaxed environment, with your favorite crew.
– Don’t Forget the “Me-Times”.
Some people will say it’s selfish. I’ll say it’s Necessary! Giving your 100% at work and at home is exhausting as hell. You can’t do both at the same time, it’s not healthy and it’s not feasible (sorry, perfectionists!). You juggle your tasks and activities, completely forgetting about yourself. So, to be able to give more, you need to recharge, relax and feel comfortable in your own skin. This, of course, can be achieved by doing activities you enjoy most. So said, dedicate 2 or 3 hours a week to your own “thing”, and make it a “Do Not Disturb” time. If necessary, block this time in your agenda, so that everybody knows – including you! – that me-time is sacred and mandatory. In other words – this sets boundaries within your own calendar.
I believe that if some things can’t be changed in our lives because they are not under our control, at least we can play around our everyday activities, to make things work out for us, in the best possible way. So, don’t hesitate, but start to sway!