5 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance

5 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance - Samantha Leith    

I’ll be honest. I don’t really believe in work-life balance. The classic work-life balance to me is something that Instagram influencers try to try sell you. Much like the influencer life, our worlds tend to be much messier and just not simple enough to fit into the categories of “work” and “life”.

It’s just can’t be as simple as “work-life” when you’re an entrepreneur, a full-time Mum, someone who’s got a passion that also happens to equal an income stream, someone with a side hustle or just someone with a job and a family. Our lives are made up of more than work and everything else.

So instead let’s just say “work-life-cha-cha-cha” because it’s a more accurate summary of what we all have going on, plus I love a musical metaphor and this one is fun to say.

I prefer to think of life as finding the things that make up my wheel of life and then fitting and balancing those. So when we talk about work-life-cha-cha-cha, there are a few solid ways to create balance so you don’t feel totally out of whack.

1. WORK OUT YOUR WHEEL OF LIFE

The best first step in finding balance in life is to actually work out what is making up your life and taking up your time and energy.

This wheel of life exercise is a really great place to start because it is an actual visual representation of the balance in your life.

If you’ve never done one before then stop here and fill one out, especially if life feels a little out of sorts at the moment. You can find the exercise on my website here. Go on, I’ll wait.

So now that’s done, have a look at your wheel on life. If you see that your career and money are gangbusters, but family and health are really low then you have a great idea of where you need to start making changes. This is especially true if you have specific goals for the year that you’re behind on or not meeting.

2. DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT

We all have a lot going on in this life, but for the most of us, there’s one focus that we have decided is the most important. It might be work, your new puppy, your business or your kids.

Whatever it is, acknowledge that it may take up a little more time and energy on your wheel of life than other things. So if you look at your wheel and it’s out of balance, but you know it’s because your kid is having a tough time at school and you want to put extra energy into that, then don’t feel bad about it.

Every single one of us has different priorities and different focuses in life that we’ve decided are most important and if the result is a work-life-cha-cha-cha that’s a little bit off kilter, then that is absolutely fine.

The problems arise when things get so out of hand that you feel overwhelmed and maybe even feel like you’re not able to give the energy you want to what you’ve decided is important.

3. BOUNDARIES

What are your boundaries?

All right, so we’ve done our wheel of life, we’ve worked out what’s important and we’ve discovered that we’re putting WAY too much into one category and it’s leaving us unbalanced.

The first step is establishing your boundaries. What do you need to improve your wheel of life balance, to put energy into your focus or to achieve your goals? Is it time? Is it space? Is it money? Is it emotional energy? Whatever it is, once you know what you need, you also know what your boundaries need to be.

Boundaries and balance tend to go hand in hand, so you may already know what your need your boundaries to be after doing your wheel of life exercise. For me, once my boundaries are pushed, everything goes out of whack and I don’t want that. I might become sick, resentful or just sad, and you can count on my wheel of side suddenly looking lopsided.

Vocalising your boundaries.

For me as a yes girl, if I’m asked for something, then you probably know what the answer is going to be. So I try to get ahead of this issue by letting those around me know when I’m laser focused on a goal or have projects on that I’m trying to get done. This will help those around you from pushing your boundaries without realizing they’re doing it. In this way you can protect your balance without having to say no to anyone.

4. ASSESS AND SYSTEMIZE

A crucial part of making your work-life-cha-cha-cha balance well is systemizing it. Before you can systemize anything though, you have to have a good long look at it, which is a little bit of what we’ve already been doing. While you’re wheel of life will give you a great overview, this is the time to dig deeper.

One of the systems I use is called “Ditch It, Delegate It, Leverage It and Live It”. This is all about working out what in your life does and doesn’t serve you and doing more of the stuff that does serve you.

If you have things in life that don’t serve you, the question is whether you can ditch it completely, delegate it or leverage it.

For example, right now I am leveraging food. I’ve ordered Hello Fresh boxes and am getting my daughter Elody to make dinner.  This has been a game changer for us. She absolutely loves it and as a bonus, is learning how to cook. It’s also giving me that little bit of extra time at night to do something for myself. I’m not using the time for work or chores but to relax, have a bath or just some quiet time, which is providing a bit of balance.

Systemising your life means you can be deliberate about finding and making balance when you need it and you won’t wind up being bogged down with tasks that don’t serve you.

5. TAKE TIME FOR YOU

Did you notice the foreshadowing in our last section? Taking time for you is something which is absolutely necessary in a balanced work-life-cha-cha-cha.

If you’re having one of those days where you feel like you’re just keeping your head above water, like work is overwhelming, you’re letting the kids and partner down and the house is a mess, take half an hour and do something to feed your soul.

It will rejuvenate and re-energize you and will likely lead to more productivity, a better headspace and you’ll end up getting more shit done. I don’t know how it works, but it just does.

So next time you feel out of whack and like that work-life-cha-cha-cha is our of sorts, take a breath, take half an hour and get to reassessing how to make it better.

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[365 Days of Extraordinary] Day 114 Transcript: Breaking Bad – Thought Habits

Good evening, folks. Tonight, I want to talk about breaking bad. Not the TV show, because I just don’t know that much about the TV show. So sorry, can’t help you.

What I want to talk about is breaking bad thought habits. Sometimes they can actually be thought addictions. If you’re one of those people that always thought an addiction was something physical like alcohol, heroin, cigarettes, you’re wrong. There really is sex addiction, and you all know gambling. We can become addicted to anything that gives us that cycle of we have a craving or an urge, and we associate it with the thing that we’re doing. And then we get the rush of dopamine, or whatever the hormonal changes and chemical reactions are going to be, because we’ve done that. And every time we do it, a lot of the time we need to then do it more, do it more, do it more, because it takes more and more and more to give us that same rush.

Now, I’ve never done it, but I know I’ve been told by people that with some … I think heroin, maybe. I just remember someone or reading about it years ago that the first time someone takes heroin, it’s like this incredible feeling, and then it’s the chasing of that constantly to try and get that back.

So I want to take it to the habits and the addictions that we can have all up here. And this is, it happens all around us. It absolutely happens all around us. And I will, hand on my heart, confess. I absolutely think I used to be addicted to the drama thought, the drama spiral of the what if-ing, and the questioning, and the chaos, and the last minute thinking. And it’s like an adrenaline rush, all that stuff. I absolutely think I was addicted to it. Definitely not anymore. Now I’m like, “Too much drama. I want to go that way.”

My mother was addicted to awfulizing. So give her a scenario and she could come up … which is ironic, given she was such a joyous party person, like she loved life. Man, she loved life. Give her a cheese plate, and a glass of wine, and a group of people, she was a happy lady. But we used to have this family joke. Any situation and mum’s brain would do what I called awfulizing. And for some people, their thought habit that is really bad might be a negative response to things. So you know, “Oh, my glasses are …”, this is mom, “Oh, my glasses are smudgy”. And when they have that negative response, it gives them the feeling that they’re searching for, because see, then I’ve got affirmation that I’m hopeless, in that kind of way. And the cycle continues, and it becomes a habit, and it becomes an addiction.

Pinterest - Most people don't have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims - Samantha LeithAlso, you can do it in a positive loop. But we’re not going to talk about that, because that’s a good one, and you don’t want to break that habit of having positive thought cycles. But the negative thoughts cycles, absolutely, you want to try and hit the nail on the head. Oh, it’s kind of a [inaudible 00:03:30]. Hit the nail on the head on that one.

So what are some scenarios that it may be? You’re stuck in traffic, and you’re going to be late. So you get wound up, and there’s that drama happening inside you, and you’re hopeless because you’re late. Then there’s shame, then there’s guilt, because you didn’t let the people know. But you know, if you really thought about it, you’re always late, because you don’t set off early enough, because you actually kind of feed off all that internal angst that happens when you’re running late.

Now you might not … if someone was to say to you, look you in the eye and say, “Samantha, tell me, do you leave home late because you like feeding off the drama of running late, and the chaos that ensues, and then having to get things done really quickly?” No, normal sane human being is going to say, “No, that just sounds bloody stupid. Who would do that?” Well, you do. I promise you, you do have these habits. We all have them. And the negative ones are in many ways a hell of a lot more powerful than the positive ones, which is such a shame.

So the things I’m talking about are drama, negativity, pessimism, awfulizing, leaving things to the last minute, doomsday thoughts, lot of poverty kind of thoughts that cycles. All the, “I can’t afford, I can’t afford, I can’t afford, I can’t afford.” Meanwhile, they’ve got more money in the bank than other people, but they’re holding onto it, like a depression kind of era, “We’re going to run out of money, so we got to hold onto it.” Another, food is one. Food is absolutely one. The negative habit of chasing that, “Well I can’t not finish it, let it go to waste. There’s people starving, and what a waste of money.” And you get yourself so wound up, so you finish the food when you didn’t actually want it.

So we want to try and break all of those habits, and they’re bad thought habits. And they can be … sometimes, when we have those thought, we follow them up with an action, like the running late, like the eating, drinking, a whole lot of those kinds of things. And sometimes, they just remain a thought. We actually don’t take action on it. We stew, and it just goes around and around our brains, affects our hearts, hits our souls, knocks away at those confidence muscles. It makes us feel like shit.

So all I wanted you to do for the next 24 hours after you’ve watched this, is be aware of the thought patterns that you’re having. So a friend rings, for example. Is your first response, the first kind of conversation that you’re going into with that person out of habit? And if it is out of habit, is it a positive habit or a negative habit? Because, in that thought process, because the negative ones are the ones we want to get [inaudible 00:06:47].

So make a note of it, jot it down. And as we’ve talked about before, see if you can flip it. So if you weren’t thinking something negative or bitchy or dramatic in this situation, what could you be feeling? Okay, how would you feel? How would you show up in that conversation to not be having that negative spiral? If you were … let all that go and didn’t feed into it in your mind and in the conversation, and came up with something positive. Okay, so that’s all I want you to do, for 24 hours, give it a go. Let me know how you go, and let’s break some bad thought habits. Yes. Over.