Trying to find the perfect balance between Work and Life
If that statement made you want to jump out and hashtag #RelatablyRelatable, then I proudly welcome you to the 21st century bandwagon, where adulthood truly seems like a big lie our parents told us. Remember the “just this one exam and then you’re free” statement. Well, let’s be honest, they didn’t know what they were doing either.
So, folks, life isn’t easy – coffee is expensive, landlords are horrible, and working out is hard.
What’s more, amidst all this chaos, you’re expected to look like Kim K, be a superstar at work and dish out #goals for food.
How do you navigate this maze and find the perfect balance between work and life? Read on to find out!
1. Set boundaries
I for one am never willing to sacrifice those 45 minutes I spend working out – even if there’s a storm coming. Figure out what’s non-negotiable ‘me time’ and actively engage in it. It’s hard and you’re always itching to respond to the next email but hold off until work the next day.
2. Wake up early
If you can get a chunk of work done first thing in the morning by slightly tweaking that morning alarm, you won’t believe the amount of extra time you gain. For those of us with set office hours, a 2-hour slot in the morning to get administrative duties out of the way will leave you with plenty of PM time to relax and unwind.
3. Eat right
Who would’ve thought giving up ice cream would be the golden key to life success? Isn’t that what work-life balance should look like? Pina coladas and ice cream? There is enough research to show that a carb-heavy, sugar-loaded diet dampens proper cognitive functioning, causes fatigue, reduces our capacity to perform optimally, increases tiredness, and the list goes on.
4. Make the most of your commute time
Most of us commute long distances to and from work and almost always waste time indulging in non-productive activities (yes, we’ve all stalked Beyoncé a million times already!). However, turning commute time into productive time takes as little effort as listening to an interesting podcast, or learning a new language on YouTube, or simply reading. On average, we spend 2 hours a day on the road, which equates to approximately 520 hours every year. FYI, it takes around 350 hours to reach conversational fluency in Spanish.
5. Stop making excuses because Mondays never happen
Human beings are inherently resistant to change and always ready to procrastinate. Picture what life could look like a year from now. This is a good starting point to make small changes. Work-life balance, in the end, is about how significantly you improve your own quality of life through the small things. This will boost, not only your own personal wellbeing, but it will also help you to become more efficient in your workplace.
At various stages in our life we have had to negotiate our way into getting things done and surprisingly enough, this is a skill we’ve mastered growing up! Remember leaving secret notes for our parents or trying to negotiate a late night out with dad – we always knew who the go to person was!
However, we walk into adulthood as experienced negotiators, but not necessarily good at the game. Mostly because we end up repeating the same strategies we used as kids, and naturally, ‘childlike’ tactics don’t necessarily get us what we want.
This week, we look at two key effective workplace communication strategies.
Practice Active Listening
Trying to convince someone is not about talking more, but to listen and listen actively. If you’re trying to frame your response in your head while the other person is still talking, you’re not really listening
– but to mildly put it, simply trying to shut the other down with your seemingly smart response. Active listening takes effort, to bring your focus to the conversation and pay attention to what is being said. Understand the other perspective, even though yours is not being understood or acknowledged. Tip! Every time you see yourself going into your head, trying to frame a response – pause and get back to listening. Try and understand that person’s position and identify areas that you can contribute to. This is especially helpful if your role involves dealing with people a lot.
Pick the right tool
This is such an important and often overlooked aspect of communication! Take an example – if you know your friend or colleague is not someone who prefers discourse over texts, using that tool with that person will further aggravate the situation and make an already difficult conversation tough. Similarly, in a workplace setting, we often see emails being shared, sometimes out of anger even, copying in managers and people who’d only add to the grapevine. Not only is this being escalated, this is being perceived very differently by the recipients. On a more practical level, even the tone in your head reading the email can lead to interpreting that email very differently. Say someone has sent a seemingly neutral email, but you have preconceptions about what that person means – naturally when reading that email, your judgement is colored and already biased. Tip! If you truly want to have an effective conversation, especially in situations where your instinct is to vent, take a moment to reflect on what you truly want out of that situation. In most cases, it is conflict resolution. Then, make an objective assessment of the person you intend to resolve conflict with and then pick the appropriate tool. Keep your intentions clear.