It’s fair to say that I am a busy bee. I work full time in Higher Education, run an arts and theatre company on the side, blog throughout the week, am completing a part-time Masters, and trying to maintain strong health and fitness, personal relationships, and not burn out (goodness, even reading that makes my anxiety spike). I won’t lie, it’s taken a lot of mental crashes, poor time management, and mega burn out sessions to get me where I am today. I’ve crawled through the realms of doing an undergraduate degree and balancing three jobs, and have come out the other side baring some knowledge of the elusive ‘work-life balance’.
Whether you are balancing a full-time job and health, a blog and a degree, or trying to do five thousand things at once, I think a good work-life balance is the way to success. I’ll be the first to say I am by no means an expert regarding getting a good life balance (I still have plenty of slip ups), but I think I’m doing alright so far. So, I thought I’d share with you what works for me in the hopes it may help someone out there!
1. Plan your days
Yes I know, starting a post about work-life balance with planning is really ground-breaking. But I honestly think it’s key in making a move in the right direction. When I mean plan, I don’t mean just dotting down a list in your diary (unless that works for you, of course). Try playing around with something that you can look at in a glance and see straight away what your week is like. I am a visual learner, and a sucker for colour, so making a bujo spread that’s clear and colour coded is ideal for me. Some people split their days into three blocks, other plan hour by hour. It’s all about trial and error, and working out what works for you!
2. Give yourself a weekly to do list
On a Sunday evening before the week ahead of me begins, I sit down and write down everything that I need to get done in that said week. Book doctor’s appointment, pick up a parcel, buy insurance, wash bed sheets; the list goes on. With that list done, I then assign the tasks to different days. Wednesday looking a bit empty? You can take deep cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen. Full day of work and meetings on Friday? You can just have booking the dentist. Saturday off? Let’s have a good balance of blogging, studying, cooking, and resting!
3. Plan your days off!
And I don’t mean plan what you are going to do with your time off. Time spent resting is just as important as time spent doing. Look at your diary or calendar or whatever you use to keep yourself organised, and look for gaps. Where possible, fill those gaps in with words like ‘rest’, ‘self-care’, ‘date night’, ‘night in’. Set a time, set a place, and treat it like another task that must be done. Because, rest must be done! You won’t be able to succeed and reach your goals if you don’t look after yourself amongst your hard work. Spread some hours off amongst your work where possible for little breaks, and always give yourself a day off once a week where possible.
4. Sick days will happen
We are all human, expecting to be superhuman is just ridiculous (unless you are actually Superman and in that case, you keep doing you). No matter how well you eat or workout or how many vitamins you take, illness is inevitable, as are unexpected personal issues, injuries, and situations. There will be days where you cannot work to the best of your ability, and you have to recognise that. If you can take sick days, do it. Listen to your body. If it screams out for rest, give it rest. Listening to your body is all part of that work-life balance.
5. Don’t be afraid to adjust the scales.
Balance itself is the most important thing when it comes to success. Let’s say you have to work late on a project, and it cuts into the time you’ve set aside to write a blog post. Rejig what you have on the scales. You no longer have the time to write a post, but you may have time to do something else; cleaning, studying, resting. Just make sure your week stays balanced. Move that study session to Tuesday, write that blog post before your appointment, and change that rest session to a morning. Don’t be afraid of moving things around, and fitting them in like Tetris pieces. There is always more than one way to get things done. Sometimes, moving around what you have on the scales is the only way to keep your balance, and that is absolutely fine.
Those are my five personal tips on how to get a good work-life balance. Everyone is different, and what works for me may not work for you. However, I hope this post got you thinking about your own work-life balance, and what you can do to make it the best it can be! Let me know your advice on how you maintain a good work-life balance in the comments section; I am always up for learning more tips!