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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Time Management Tips – Finding time to be social

The life of an entrepreneur can become jumble when it comes to Time Management. Especially when we are talking about having some social time. You see the problem is, we usually enjoy our work, so it doesn’t seem like work!!! Before we know it we have been brainstorming or writing for hours, forgotten to have lunch, our nails look like shit and our friends think we have forgotten them!! Add to the mix that you are working from your home office and before you know it, it’s been 5 days since you had a non-work related conversation and put on high heels and a face!! It doesn’t have to be like this. Here are my 5 simple rules for Time Management – and having a social life. 1/ Mark out your calendar every week, with what is happening. Work, family, personal, clients etc. 2/ Decide if you want to spend some of the spare time on yourself or being social 3/ Work out who you would like to spend some time with 4/ Spend 15 minutes on the phone – asking!!!! 5/ Get out there and have some fun I know that all seems stupidly simple, but the reality is, so few of us do it. Then we get to the point we are exhausted and don’t even know where to go out, if you did want to. This balance is particularly hard for some of us – single mum here. I have totally failed at having a social life, over and over again. Which is ironic given I would go to the opening of an envelope when I was in my 20’s. These days I reflect on my Top 5 Passions when I am scheduling my week. My #3 Passion is being surrounded by like minded, fun and inspiring people…..BUT….if I need alone time, that is equally important. If that’s the case, I pick up the phone and just say ‘hi’ to someone I care about. Being social, does not mean another hour on Facebook by the way. There is a big wide world out there, and we need to make the most of it. If you are busy, like I am at the moment, it’s not an excuse to not be social either – just do it in a different way. Invite some friends to brunch – always a lot quicker than dinner, or ask someone to do a walk with you – and get your exercise in. As for me, tonight I’m child free, so it’s dinner with a fabulous business woman I know – then some me time (ie curling up and watching Ray Donovan).