The 3 essentials of work-life balance

DO YOU FEEL THAT WORK IS A WAY MORE PROMINENT IN YOUR LIFE THAN IT SHOULD? Is juggling between job and family so tricky that you rarely have any time left for yourself? Would you like to achieve work-life balance? Then, you are certainly not alone and that’s why we put together 3 essential tips on how to balance your personal and professional life.

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First and foremost, it must be said that “work-life balance” itself is a very bad term. It implies that there is work and there is life and these two are separate entities. They are not. Work is an integral part of our lives and the amount of time we want to devour to it is very individual. Imagine you would be telling to find work-life balance to folks like Beethoven or Picasso. So, let’s say that a better way to call all this would be something like “Balance between working life and personal life”, but that would be far less catchy meaning books on how to achieve it wouldn’t probably sell so well.

Work, life and the individual

But it’s not only about being or not being a genius. For people in their twenties who build their first start-up, being at work 16 hours a day might be perfectly fine. That naturally changes when they start to have families and kids or maybe just meet a partner who doesn’t work for the same company. Yet, providing you are still reading this, the chances are that you are not a young enthusiast trying to program an industry changing 3D shooter. While a lot has been written about balancing work and personal life, we believe that there really are 3 most important things to have in mind.

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1. Prioritize

Day has only 24 hours so if you have the feeling that you are constantly running out of time, it most likely doesn’t mean you are inefficient. Have you considered that you are just doing too many things? Maybe it’s time to decide what to keep and what to discard. If you are learning Spanish, taking care of a plot in a community garden and volunteer for a non-profit organization, select just one or two. Similarly, you can approach your work commitments, but you would need to learn one important skill: saying no. Maybe taking that extra project that nobody else wants to do isn’t the best way to advance your career and only steals time you would otherwise spend at home or at a gym.
This all isn’t as easy as it seems. In reality, prioritizing means a lot of communication and explaining to others and, yes, a huge amount of self-discipline.

2. Master your time and calendar

Have you ever heard a saying “if you don’t control your calendar, it will control you”? Well, there is a more pessimistic and perhaps more accurate version that goes “if you don’t control your calendar, somebody else will”. And nowadays when most of us use shared calendars, this is commonly a stern reality. That’s why it’s advisable to use your calendar not only for professional stuff, but also visually blocking out times you plan to devote to personal things. Not only it gives your colleagues a clear notion of what and more precisely when they can expect work from you but also make yourself less inclined to deviate from the plan.
You might as well consider improving your overall time management skills. There are many rather easy tips and tricks on how to do more and be more efficient. In case you don’t know where to start, check out our article on time management for people on home office.

3. Learn your options

If you are an employee, you might be surprised how much your employer can actually help you. Therefore, it’s always best to check whether the institution or company you work for has any policies on flextime, compressed workweek, job sharing and other individualized working conditions such as home office if it’s something that works for you. Naturally, it would be best to learn about these things even before you start working for someone. But since asking about it on your first interview might lower your chances of being hired at all, it’s probably a good idea to wait a little. Then, you can also prove your skills and performance, which in turn can give you a better negotiating position with your employer.

Even though we truly consider the above three points as keystones in a pursuit for balance between working and professional life, it must be said that they just construct a general frame. However, every situation is unique and thus for someone filling into the frame might seem unfeasible. Luckily, this is something that can easily be tweaked according to your individual needs, which is exactly something mynds’ professional coaches are trained for. So, if you feel you could use a bit of assistance here, don’t hesitate and try mynd.

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