We hear the term work/life balance far too often and for many of us it seems like a concept too elusive to grasp. As we flit from task to task trying to get a million things done at once, it often feels like we’re running on a treadmill unable to step off for fear of what might happen. There are some simple concepts that you can incorporate into your life so you can feel a little less frantic and a little more zen. Here are seven ways to tip the scales a little more in your favour.
1. Challenge the way you think about time
We all have the same number of hours in a day, that’s a fact. But whereas some people seem to cruise through life, smelling the roses along the way, others tend to buzz about frantically like their whole life is an emergency. This isn’t necessarily due to workload and how much we have to do (although they may tell you otherwise). Sometimes it’s about changing our attitude towards time. If we are constantly telling ourselves we don’t have enough hours in the day, then we are always going to feel time-starved. Sometimes changing our language and the words we say can help change the way we feel. Think of yourself as time-affluent. Talk about how many hours in a day we have. Try and enjoy the passing minutes and hours rather than constantly stressing about how much we have to do and you may find you feel a little more balanced.
2. Eliminate “urgent” tasks.
Remember that for the most part, very few things are really urgent. When we read the word ‘urgent’ our bodies often go into a state of alarm. We need to reassess how we think about this word – people throw it around too casually in the workplace to try and prioritise what they want done. Use your professional judgment to mark how urgent something is then schedule it on your to-do list appropriately.
3. Wake up, smell the coffee and don’t rush
Hands up if you feel like you’re a morning person? I know very few of these rare creatures, but if we can change our habits in the mornings than we can essentially change how our whole day pans out. Snoozing the alarm, rushing to get ready and flying out the door to catch a train is never going to leave us feeling balanced. To start with, try waking up 20 minutes earlier. It will be painful at first but it will soon become a habit and just part of your daily routine. You can use this time to read, meditate, have breakfast with your family/partner – anything apart from work. Just by making this small shift in your morning routine you will most likely feel less rushed and frantic throughout the day.
4. Use your weekends wisely
We have two full joyous days on the weekend which we can do what we like with. Although it’s tempting to get tanked up on a Friday night to relieve stress from the week, spending half of Saturday in bed feeling sorry for yourself is not going to give you the sense of balance you’re missing. I would recommend spending just one-two hours on the weekend doing some life planning. Set some goals, identify the key things you want to achieve in the week ahead and take a little time evaluating your week (what went well, what you could improve on etc.). You’ll never find time to do this in the week but it will help you create a life you’re happier with.
5. Use technology but don’t let it use you
Switch off, switch off, switch off. Technology is a wonder but we’ve let it take advantage of us. Reclaim your time and your life. Dare to go out without your phone every once in a while, and watch how the world doesn’t spontaneously combust. I think it’s almost impossible to get a sense of balance if you’re turned on to technology every waking hour. Schedule mini digital detoxes where you eliminate tech for an evening or weekend day. People cannot invade your personal time and make demands of you when you’re not reading their emails and messages.
6. Treat your body as a temple
This one is simple. Fuel your body with drugs (legal or otherwise), alcohol or processed foods and you’re likely to feel out of sync. Your energy levels will be off and you’re much more likely to get irritated or frustrated quicker. No matter what else is going on in life, exercise, nourishing food and a good night’s sleep will almost always make you feel a little more balanced so treat your workouts and night time curfew like important dates in your diary and you’ll thank yourself for it.
7. Be thankful
Spend a moment to give thanks for the abundance in your life. If you’re reading this you’re likely to have access to a computer or smartphone, which means you’re already very lucky! We can’t feel stressed or overwhelmed if we’re feeling grateful so schedule a couple of minutes in your day to give gratitude.
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