Why Stopping May Be the Key to Reaching Work-Life Balance
I recently asked a 14-year-old what her favorite age was. She said 11. And you know, I see where she is coming from.
5th grade, the time where you are no longer a little kid, not yet a teen or even a pre-teen and certainly nowhere near being an adult. A time where the idea of balancing your life doesn’t exist. All you are concerned with is life happening right then. You are not thinking about the future, but living in the present moment. You remember to stop at the end of the day and start each day as if the one before never happened and tomorrow never knows.
Somewhere along the line though, we convinced ourselves that working more and playing less means a better and more fulfilled life. Convincing ourselves that all we need and desire is in the future.
With our minds set on the future, we forget about living in the present. Instead, we begin a life of playing catch-up. Being reactive rather than proactive. We think the harder we work, the more successful we are. Leading to burnout for many of us and searching for the elusive work-life balance. Left trying to find the magic mix of productivity lists, time management apps, and self-care routines to get us through.
How to reach work-life balance
1. Take the time to stop
The first step to reach work-life balance is to stop. And, I mean really stop. Of course, the amount of time varies for everyone, but it’s about quality rest, not quantity.
Take the time to get out of your constant reactionary state. Think about what you can change or do to work the way you want and live the way you need.
I have taken everything from two-week yoga retreats to month-long sabbaticals to weekend getaways to my family’s farm. But honestly what has been the best trick for me has been staycations. Taking a few days to enjoy where I am. Re-appreciate what I want out of life. And, think about how I can bring both my vocation and personal life into harmony has been of tremendous help to me.
There are a lot of trends and theories out there that can bring you to these states faster and quicker. Employ them if they work for you. But, sometimes just taking the time to “smell the roses” is enough of a break.
2. Decide how you want to live
By finally stopping you can think about what is important to you. What are your personal and professional priorities? Choose how you want to live your life based on those priorities.
Is that working just in the mornings, so you have time to develop your side hustle?
Is that blending together your work and your personal life even more and having an anti-schedule? This way you can live each day authentically and as it comes.
Is it working remotely 2 days a week so you can help take your child to hockey?
Whatever it is, decide and design your life.
3. Make the changes needed to have a better work-life balance
Once you have reconciled that, decide what needs to change to get you there.
Is that asking to tweak your work schedule? Work 4 days a week instead of 5. Or decrease your working hours per day.
Is that delegating some of your work tasks? Or asking to work on the projects you want to?
Is that employing technology to do some of your more tedious tasks? So, you can free up your schedule for more important work.
Ask yourself, “What does my ideal day look like?” and build from there.
4. Ask others for help or employ new technologies to help you achieve work-life balance
Colleagues — If working on a team, be transparent with your colleagues about your new schedule. Set a precedent for your whole team. Others may even appreciate it as well.
Clients — If you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, or contractor re-evaluate your workload and client base. If you are too busy, try using a referral system. Or, maybe charge more for your services and have fewer clients.
Technology — There are a ton of apps and services out there that help to increase productivity and free up time. Some of them help to streamline one particular area of your work, while others can accomplish every aspect of a project or task for you. Our workflow automation platform, Make offers a lot of flexibility and power to get even your most complex tasks accomplished. If interested, check out “The Secret to Highly-Productive Teams” to see how it works.
We don’t have to live wishing we were still kids. Work-life balance is achievable when you stop, re-evaluate and use the people and technology around you to help.
If this has inspired you or would like to check out our service, visit www.make.com and try it for free today!
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