Work - life balance. Something that can be very difficult to master... You're chasing your dream and hustling your ass off but is it ruining your relationship? Or are you unhealthy, stressed and run down? Here are five tips for how to manage this better and get you back on track.
1. Get incredibly organised.
One of the reasons people don't switch off and say 'there's always something that needs doing' can be a symptom of poor organisation. You need to do work strategically, in order, and with deadlines so you can get things done.
The most important thing to do is plan your days the night before, so that you aren't stressing about it all night. Write down everything you're going to do the following day, so you can relax knowing it's ready to be handled. You can then spend more tim relaxing or with loved ones.
Also, adopt the 80/20 rule. 20% of your tasks are making up for 80% of your results, so whatever your most important tasks are, do them first and give them priority. Otherwise you will run around doing less important things all day and still feel swamped because you haven't touched the big tasks. Just because you do something well doesn't mean it was important.
2. Build downtime into your schedule.
When you are making your daily or weekly schedule, make sure you allocate downtime. Whether it's 30 minutes a day or one full day a week, whatever you think will be an appropriate amount of time to unwind and recharge.
Another benefit is that if you have a date night with your partner or a cool event with your friends, it will motivate you to get more organised and complete your tasks. We also work better when we know we are running out of time. This is a little productivity hack I figured out which I turned into a video.
3. Be active in your personal life.
This is huge. Some people will work from home to be around their family and if they ever say that they work too much they go 'I work from here so I can spend more time with you!!!'. But it's not quality time. If you have kids you might come 'home' at 7:00pm to see your family. But you play a few hours of xbox or watch TV or even do work, then cook dinner and soon after the kids or your spouse is in bed, and you haven't spent any valuable time with them. That will ruin your relationship. If you had to work flat out 6 days a week but in that 1 day off your spouse or family got absolutely undivided attention and you do something super special, that will be infinitely more valuable than just being 'there'.
Don't take your loved ones for granted. Don't just give them your presence, give them your time.
4. Don't stress about things you can't control.
This is something that I struggle with too, but if you learn how to handle it you'll be much better off. Whether you have your own business or a high intensive job, your brain will always be ticking, but it may be a waste of your energy. Worrying about things don't make them go away! Worrying about a developer taking too long doesn't make it faster. Worrying about your boss being a dick doesn't make them go away. Worrying about the unknown future doesn't make it brighter.
If there is something that is dependent on you that you have control over, then you have a reason to give it attention and take action towards resolving it. But if it's just stressing for no reason, it's a waste of time. Don't worry about shit you can't change!
5. Take time to reflect.
I wish I could do this every day but things just get in the way, so I recommend doing it at least once a week, minimum. Make it compulsory. Find a nice spot (particularly with a view), put in the headphones, put your phone on do not disturb, play a great track and just think. Just be still and think. Where are you? Where do you want to be? I recommend bringing a notebook so you can write down your thoughts.
This is MASSIVE and it takes you to a different place of your mind. It lets you zoom out and see what you need to change on a macro scale, instead of all the little tasks you are handling. Not enough people do this, and to be honest I think a lot of people are scared to admit they aren't where they want to be. However I guarantee it will be beneficial, and it's always best to take action instead of running from reality or pretending to be happy.
Bonus tip: Exercise and diet.
I know I said 5 but here's a sneaky extra one... I didn't delve into this because it's a big topic, but exercising and eating good food is critically important for your health and your body. I'm not a health freak but make sure you drink lots of water, eat healthy food more often than bad food and work out at least 3 times a week. It doesn't have to be a hardcore training session, it can be a simple 10 minute high intensity workout, going for a run or playing a game of basketball. It makes you happier, makes you sleep better and keeps you healthy!
- - -
Work life balance can take a while to master, but these tips should help you create higher quality downtime and keep your hustle fresh! Let me know if you have any other tips in the comments or on Twitter @mitchills.