WORK LIFE BALANCE IN SIX EASY STEPS
Work life balance has to be the holy grail, surely. But what is it to be exact?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines work life balance as “the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy”.
They are fairly spot on, however work life balance is different for every creative entrepreneur, and it can be a constant juggling act. However I know for a fact since quitting my full time job in public relations two years ago and working for myself as a solo entrepreneur, work life balance has never looked better.
So what does work life balance look like for me?
I am now able to work the hours I want. I am now able to go to the beach in the middle of the day. I am now able to spend more time with my loved ones. I am now able to go to the gym in the afternoon when my productivity naturally slumps. I am now able to work remotely from co working spaces and my favourite cafés in my own time. I am now able to be my own boss and call the shots.
Although it must be understood work life balance comes with a soft warning: it’s not a walk in the park and it takes a lot of discipline because at the end of the day, as creative entrepreneurs, the buck stops with us. If anything, I am working harder than ever, but because I am lucky to completely love what I do, it doesn’t feel like “work” in the traditional 9 to 5 sense.
So how can you achieve work life balance as a creative entrepreneur? Well, it’s actually a lot easier than you think, but it will take some changed thinking. So here I share some insight into how you can achieve work life balance in six easy steps.
DRAW A LINE
The hero of work life balance is knowing when to draw a line. Creative entrepreneurs must decide what is important – and what is not. Easier said than done? Well, initially it will be for some. You just need to accept you can’t do it or have it all. You need to ask yourself what’s most important thing to you. An example – Monday to Thursday are for work but the hours you work are completely up to you. Friday is for hobbies. Saturday and Sunday is for family and friends. No work on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So ask yourself what’s important to you and draw a line and stick to it.
Happy creative entrepreneurs are busy, but they don’t feel rushed. That’s the key to work life balance. So dedicate time to doing what makes you happy. For me, it’s coaching and hosting workshops for creative entrepreneurs, and travelling. For you, it could be surfing, crafting scrap books, writing, potting new indoor plants, having brunch every Sunday with friends – these are non-negotiable activities towards happiness and in the end, work life balance.
CONCENTRATE ON ONE THING AT A TIME
Forget multitasking. It only leads to the temptations of procrastination and distraction. Being a successful entrepreneur and achieving work life balance is all about single tasking. It will take practice as there are so many day to day distractions in our lives, so start small by devoting your time to the task at hand in small buckets of time, such as 15 minutes. When you get better at single tasking, increase your time to 30 minutes and then an hour. You will be blown away at how quickly and competently you complete a single task when you give it your undivided attention.
EMBRACE SWITCHING OFF
Honestly, switching off is the single most important factor when balancing work and life. When you have work life balance you can do one thing really well – and that’s switching off. When you’re at work, switch off from everything else and focus on work. The same applies for your time outside of work. When you’re spending time on the weekend with family and friends, don’t look at work emails or read the news. In a nut shell, be mindful and present. Focus on what’s in front of you and embrace switching off.
BUY AN ALARM CLOCK
To resist checking emails or social platforms first thing in the morning, or before you go to bed, place your mobile phone outside your bedroom and buy an alarm clock. It will change your life!
SELF AWARENESS IS CRUCIAL
To enjoy work life balance, you need to appreciate the value of how fast you do things. Sometimes you’ll be completely under the pump. Other times you’ll have all the time in the world. So ensure you have self-awareness as this will ensure you appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
Words by YCS Director, Jaharn Giles