Ah, the ever-elusive pursuit of work-life balance. Striving for equilibrium in our professional lives, personal lives, and social lives is something most workers admit is a priority. But here’s the thing: work-life balance is hard to achieve. In fact, some could argue that at times it’s impossible, writes Natural Distilling Co. founder Rhys Staley.
Finding a suitable balance in all areas of our lives can sometimes feel similar to juggling 5 balls at once: take a second longer to focus on one ball and chances are you might drop the rest. Wouldn’t it be better if we just kept a firm grip and figured out how to integrate instead? We shouldn’t attempt to be robots striving for precision and perfection, rather humans who need to prioritise some things over others at certain times in their lives. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as complete harmony when it comes to our lives, but there is a way we can achieve a better sense of fulfilment: Give up on work-life balance and strive for these things instead.
Work-life balance can often feel like we’re striving for the unattainable, a goal that sits on the horizon that we never able to reach. So instead of focussing on a sense of perfection, focus on ways to simplify it. Start with your priorities and build out a plan that allows you to allocate the right amount of time. A simple way to do this is by creating a pie graph that plots each priority, giving bigger slices of pie to the things that are more important. This is a quick way to realise what things you need to be giving more time to and vice versa.
Integrating aspects of your life is about removing hard boundaries around what you do and finding ways to incorporate the things that important. It’s an approach that’s less about ‘balance’ and more about creating synergies. For example, if work and fitness are a priority for you, integrating the two could mean asking a colleague to skip the coffee meeting and go for a walk instead. Or if family life is important, starting work later so you can do the school drop off a couple of days a week could be a way to achieve a better sense of achievement.
Find your passion
In an ideal world, everyone would be busy working on their passions during their 9 to 5. However, the reality is that many people still aren’t sure what their passion is, or they keep it as a side hustle that never gets enough attention. Figure out what your passion is and chase it wholeheartedly. The words of Mark Twain sum up this point perfectly: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.
Give up on distractions
We live in a society that often glorifies being busy however it is at the detriment to our own wellbeing. Spend some time overhauling your life and figure out what is really making you ‘busy’. Chances are you get through most days feeling extremely busy but look back on it without no real sense of achievement. Swap out being busy for being productive by removing all the distractions. A person’s biggest distraction is often their mobile phone so turn off notifications or turn your phone on flight mode and get to work being productive.
Allocate your time
Striving for work-life balance often feels like people are essentially striving to do more of the ‘life’ side of things rather than the ‘work’. Chances are much of this is about having your own time to do things you really enjoy. So rather than putting those things at the bottom of the priority list, put them at the top and schedule them in. That means actually allocating time for yourself by blocking out the time in your calendar. It might only be half an hour a day, but it will make all the difference.