When I think about work-life balance, the first word that comes to mind is fluidity. While we’d like to imagine it as a static, ready-made formula we can buy off the shelf, the reality is work-life balance is not a destination, it’s a journey!
While we live in a time where having a work-life balance is one of the most valuable assets we can possess, being confined in one environment makes it challenging to achieve.
Having been working remotely for most of my professional life, I discovered work-life balance is more about self-management than time management: understanding how we operate is key to improve the quality of our daily life.
With this in mind, I would like to share with you four approaches I have used to empower my work-life balance experience.
1) Create clear mental and physical boundaries
If you are working from home and have limited space, your biggest struggle might be in finding a clear divide between your work time and personal time. One of the most important actions we can take to change this sense of confusion is to set boundaries.
An example could be treating your workspace as a fun project and giving it character by choosing objects or settings that define it. Think of specific music, light setting, or even the way your chairs are displayed during working hours: this will allow your brain to create a clear association with those elements and categorise them as work time.
2) Know your patterns
Spend some time observing yourself. You’ll start to notice your energy levels in connection to your mood and the kind of work you do. You will see moments where you will be energised and motivated and others where you will be more tired and procrastinate.
Understanding how your energy fluctuates throughout your day and what kind of work you find most demanding will allow you to manage yourself more productively and increase your chances of achieving the work-life balance you are striving for.
For example, if you tend to have low energy in the morning, consider doing something that inspires you and energises you first before tackling the most challenging activities on your schedule. You will feel a lot better about your day!
3)Have a purpose in what you do off work
When it comes to our work, we are often pretty clear on what we want to achieve. So why not take the same approach with our time after work?
A lack of purpose in our off-work activities will most likely lead us to poor decisions and hinder our sense of overall fulfilment. Our brain is naturally hardwired to save energy so if you finish your workday and have no intentionality in your actions, you will most likely go for the easiest choices, not necessarily the most meaningful one for you.
Taking the time to understand what’s important to you, although uncomfortable at first, can lead you to explore new topics or activities you never thought of before.
Focus on setting weekly goals on the activities you would love to fulfil and establish the outcome you want to achieve: it will help you boost your curiosity and experience a greater sense of progress in your intentions.
4)Take the holistic view
Another way to bring more purpose to what we do is by understanding how the activities we engage in can represent an opportunity for greater self-empowerment. When we look at our activities as a form of nourishment towards our well being, we build a more profound relationship with what we do.
For example, when engaging in a desired activity, consider which part you are nurturing — your body, mind, heart: it will open up new ways of looking at your day and inspire you to create a diverse mix of combinations to keep things interesting.
5)Put more life into your work
Whether we like it or not, work is a big part of what we do as people. Sometimes though, we let events get the best of us and forget to look at our daily work as an opportunity to care, express, and learn.
A useful approach to help us get into this mindset is by linking our salient activities to meaningful opportunities for personal fulfilment.
For example, when you get on a call with a new client, think about how this could represent an opportunity to stretch your abilities or connect with someone. Having this emotional relationship with our work is fundamental to improve our outlook, one of the four necessary conditions for optimum wellbeing.
Another way to bring more life to our daily work is by changing the way we manage our workload. How many times do we get to the end of our workday feeling like we have no energy left to do the things that are important to us?
A simple way to ensure we maintain healthy energy levels throughout our day is by taking 5-minute little breaks in between tasks. The reality is your energy is finite, and if you learn to respect it, you’ll not only become more present and energised in what you do but also make more space inside of you to achieve your goals more meaningfully.
Happy work-life balance experimenting!
Passionate entrepreneur on a quest to help people live more meaningful and expansive lives, Filippo di Lenardo is the Co-Founder of 3SSENTIA, the SMART management system that helps professionals boost their productivity, wellbeing and work-life balance. Filippo also runs Leap2yourbest, a 2 day coaching program for entrepreneurs looking to expand their personal and business growth.
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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.