Work-Life Balance may seem like a myth, especially in a buzzing industry like PR where people are expected to be switched on all the time. As a natural workaholic myself, the lines between my work and personal lives occasionally tend to get blurred. However, drawing from experience, there are some tips that can help you to lead an exciting and fulfilling personal life, even when life at work gets hectic. Learning how to unplug
With technology, workers are constantly accessible via text messages, emails and calls 24-7, which makes it difficult for them to draw clear boundaries between when their work life ends and their personal ones begin. Make it a point to spend some true quality time with family, friends and loved ones (and by true quality time, I don’t mean keeping one eye on your phone half the time you’re out). Taking a moment to savour and enjoy activities with your loved ones without responding to work notifications can help you to form a better resilience to work updates and eliminate having work on your mind at all times. If you really have to check your phone for work updates after working hours, try responding to them in batches during limited times in the evening. Make lists
It’s very easy to get caught up with the day-to-day activities at work and lose track of things you’d like to spend more time on, so maintaining a work-life balance takes a conscious effort. Drawing up two separate lists of tasks each day to focus on what you can achieve and time set aside for little pleasures helps to provide a desired balance. Start with small, attainable tasks such as responding to an important work email and completing half a chapter of a book on the commute to work. Building up from small tasks work much better than taking on too much too quickly. Prioritise things that matter
When you’re working with a limited amount of free time each day, it’s good to identify the important things in your life and devote time to them. By knowing what the high-priority people and activities are, you can begin to set firm boundaries on spending quality time with them. Understand that every second of your free time counts so time-wasting activities should also be trimmed away. If you know that most of your time gets sucked away once you start surfing the internet, try to implement rules to limit your time spent online. Finding your own rhythm
Everyone has their own interpretation of a Work-Life Balance, thus it’s vital to establish your own flow and rhythm that gets you through the work week. Making plans for personal activities ensures that you knock off work at a certain time in order to keep to those commitments, and helps you to plan your time well in the day so you complete all your work tasks by then.
What works best for me is to do up my schedule every Sunday for the week ahead to ensure that it has a good balance of fitness, social and leisure activities. I’ve found that simple things such as scheduling 3-4 trips to the gym or making at least 1-2 dinner plans with family or friends a week prompts me to get out of the office no later than 8pm each day. It’s important not to lose sight of your interests as well, so I catch up on my readings via audiobooks on my daily commutes and make time for music practice at least once a week.
Knowing that your personal time is well-spent provides a confidence boost that you’re in control of your life and keeps you energised and motivated when you’re at work. Maintaining a balance between a demanding work life and an enriching personal life can be tricky, but once you’ve found a flow that works best for you, I guarantee you’ll be grooving your way through the week.