Yes, this overused, cheesy saying does hold some truth, but it comes with a price. In today’s business world, especially the marketing/advertising realm, it’s almost unheard of to start your job at 8am, take your leisurely 1-hour lunch break, and leave promptly at 5pm every single day. The nature of this business doesn’t always allow the day to end once you step outside of the office. It continues through the late night emails, the emergency client calls, and let’s not forget those promised deadlines which call for late nights staring at your computer.
This is the path we chose (can’t blame the government for this one). But in the midst of client demands, days full of meetings, and those to-do lists that never seem to get anything crossed off, you can strike a balance that will allow you, one, to breathe, but second, to feel like you are in control again.
So, how can you start to do this? Here are the first two steps that can significantly help you spend more time catching up on “Game of Thrones” episodes (err, I mean family time) and less on work!
Acceptance & Commitment (yes, kind of like exchanging your vows)
You have to accept the fact that you are going to make a change in your daily routine and commit to it. You have to be all-in; otherwise, you won’t seriously make a change.
When you’re ready, read aloud:
I____(your name)____, take this commitment to strive to maintain more balance in my life, to remember and reflect, from this day forward, for better days, for worse days, for my health, for my sanity, until I retire. This is my promise of a better, more fulfilled life for myself, and I hereby pledge my faithfulness so long as I shall live.
This covers several different components, but mainly you should strive to:
1. Prioritize. Not everything has to be urgent. Start with deadlines. What needs to get done by this afternoon? What needs to get done by the end of the day? What needs to get done by the end of the week? Filter and revise your list from there.
2. Schedule some “you” time. Anyone who can work 8 hours straight is nuts. Literally, something must be wrong with them. Everyone needs a few minutes throughout the day to space out, re-focus, and shut off their brain for a little while before returning to their daily tasks.
Here is a tool that allows you to work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. This is great for those who work on tasks that require significant focus and detail.
3. You don’t have to say “no”, but don’t always say “yes”. What I mean by this is, you don’t have to turn down tasks right and left, but ask what the time frame is. Depending on the answer, reflect back to your to-do list and see if this is something you can complete without having to sacrifice a lunch break or stay late. If it does require additional time you don’t have that day, counter-offer another time frame or ask for help. If you’re finding that this will somehow reflect negatively on your performance, ask yourself if the company you’re working for is the right fit for you.
Here are some other organizing/prioritizing tips that can easily be integrated into your new work-life balance commitment.
Achieving work-life balance isn’t going to happen overnight and it certainly won’t be achievable every day. But it should be happening most days. I’d love to know if you have other work-life balance tips that you can share in the comments section. Remember, if all else fails you can always take up yoga. Get your chi on!