Things have been incredibly slow here on Alternative Speaking for the last while, and rather than just making excuses for this, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to share a lesson that I am currently working on – Establishing a healthy balance between my career and my personal life.
For those that may be new to the blog, I work from home. My career involves blogging, writing and working as a digital and social media marketer. Now I want to start by saying that I LOVE my career, I really do. I love the creativity, all the incredible people that I meet and the flexibility of working from home (that’s a huge one) however, with every positive thing that we experience in life so too will come challenges. In relation to my career, balance is the struggle…
When you own your own business, everything falls back on you. You are the boss, the employee, the manager and the ‘grunt’ worker. Especially in the early stages, before you grow enough to hire outside help. This can be incredibly rewarding and incredibly draining all at the same time. Furthermore, working from home can make it difficult to draw a clear, concise line between your work life and your personal life, but this line is SO important!
If we allow your work lives to take over, as I had been doing in the recent past, it is not only physically demanding but also mentally and emotionally exhausting. You are always ‘on,’ with no real break from the constant go, go, go experience. Early on it can feel completely sustainable, like you’ve got everything under control and it’s going great, but one day something is going to happen – it may be a challenging customer, a struggle in your personal life, or a difficult time involving friends and family, and suddenly everything comes crashing down.
What was once a finely tuned balancing act has now left you beat down and struggling to get back on your feet.
Your mental health is important, and in order to maintain it, you need to discover true balance in your life. This doesn’t mean just trying to fit in some time with friends, or a moment alone – this means scheduling significant blocks of time for YOU. This means practicing self-care, taking time off, shutting off when needed and knowing when to step back and put your physical, mental and emotional health first.
I know, I know, I’m talking a big game for someone who just admitted that she has recently failed in this area. These past few weeks I’ve been picking up the pieces and figuring out how to rebuild my own balance after experiencing exactly what I described – that moment when it all comes crashing down.
So, I am writing this as a ‘learn from my mistakes’ moment. This is the opportunity to share my own struggles, and hopeful in reading about them, at least some of you will be able to avoid going through what I have over this last while.
8 Tricks for Establishing a Healthy Work/Life Balance
#1 – Establish a Schedule and Stick to It
It’s important that your life is made up of clearly defined blocks of time in order to allow you to create the separation that you need between these various areas of your life. You should have clearly defined time for work, or ‘office hours’ – this is incredibly important if you are making your own schedule! Create office hours and, more importantly, stick with them! When the end of your workday hits, close your laptop and walk away.
#2 – Create a Specific ‘Work Space’
If you are working from home there is an additional struggle in that your work and your home are all under one roof, so you are never completely ‘leaving the office.’ You need to create this illusion within your own home. Create an office space – this may be a separate room if you have space or merely a defined corner. That is your ‘office.’ When it is work time, ensure that you are working there, away from the rest of your ‘home life.’ When office hours are done, walk away and leave your work there.
#3 – Let Go of Your Fear – Trust in What You’ve Built
One of the biggest reasons that people continue to throw their time and energy so heavily into their work and business is a fear that it will all fall apart the second that they have taken even the smallest of steps back. If you have to be ‘on’ 24/7 in order for your work to hold up, then it is time to step back and consider rebuilding and restructuring. Even if you have left a couple of unchecked items on that ever-growing to-do list, life will still go on. Believe it or not, that unfinished work will still be there when you return tomorrow.
#4 – Maintain a Social Life
This doesn’t mean that you have to go running to the local bar every night to drink, dance and party it up, but it is important that you maintain some semblance of a social life. This could be making time for coffee dates with good friends, getting involved in sports teams or community groups that are associated with your passions or simply taking the time to call or Skype a good friend. These are the people who are going to be there for you when life gets challenging and stressful, so don’t push them away!
#5 – Give Yourself Time to Unplug
With the growing world of technology today, we are always a mere click of a button away when people need us. Now don’t get me wrong, this can be a great thing, but it can also be incredibly hard on us. Make a point of establishing some technology-free time in your day. During that time don’t just silence your phone (the temptation is still there to grab it and check it out). Instead, turn it off, put it away, shut your laptop and just be in the moment. What this looks like will differ from person to person. For me, my favourite ‘unplugged’ moments usually come when camping, hiking or simply just walking with the pups.
#6 – Schedule Vacation Time
If you worked for an employer in an office setting you would be entitled to vacation time each year. This doesn’t mean time that you go work from another setting, but time away from work entirely to relax, recharge and just get away. This could come in the form of a weekend away at a local campground or something more exotic like a tropical vacation. Whatever it is, you deserve it! Schedule it into the calendar and don’t sacrifice this regardless of how tempting it may be when times get busy.
#7 – Seriously Consider Your Priorities
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘but it’s important’ mentality about everything at all times, but does the task in question seriously need to be completed right this moment? I found this one particularly challenging when it came to housework. Sure, my house isn’t spotless, but does it need to be? While I’m definitely not saying live in a messy home (I am still a bit of a neat freak), I am saying that not everything needs to be perfect at all times. Will the house fall apart if you wait to unload the dishwasher until tomorrow?
#8 – Share the Responsibilities
Taking the last point one step further – do all the things that ‘just have to get done’ in your life have to be done by you? I know, there are likely a lot of control freaks out there that are getting anxious just reading that, I hear you because I’m a control freak myself BUT are there responsibilities that you can share or delegate. Can you outsource something, paying someone else to take care of it? Do you have a housemate or spouse that can take on some of the household tasks? If you’re involved in community groups, are the responsibilities shared among the membership? This can be incredibly hard, but sometimes we all need to learn to let go.
What tips do you have to create a healthy balance in your own life? Is this an area that you feel you do well at or are you a work in progress (like me)?
22 thoughts on “8 Tricks for Establishing a Healthy Work/Life Balance”
Finding that perfect balance is so hard for me! Thanks for these tips!
It’s definitely not easy sometimes!
I’ve been following the whole workspace being separate from everything else. It’s been so helpful not doing any posts in bed anymore it shocks me lol. Great tips, I will definitely be following most if not all of these!
It really makes such a big difference mentally
I find it really difficult to get a balance. Been falling behind with my blog recently ?
My blog hasn’t been as active lately either, but I’ve just had a lot on my plate
Great post. I really need to work on my work life balance
I think nearly everyone does in some way
As much as I hate to admit it, having some time away from social media and technology is the best thing for everyone!
Great tips and hope you’re feeling better soon ?
I’ve booked marked this post as you’ve made good points! X
It’s so true, and yet so hard to do sometimes!
I’m working full time and blogging part time. My partner works shifts. My diary is paramount in us achieving any kind of relationship, so I can plan blogging hours around her schedule etc
I totally agree – with all things factored in I’m ‘working’ parttime as a write, running my own business fulltime, working parttime as a music instructor, blogging parttime and I’d like to maintain some form of life where I actually spend time with my husband and friends hahaha
Finding the perfect balance is so difficult – I always try to make a schedule but never stick to it.
I am bad for straying off schedule too, not gonna lie
This is such an important post, it can be so hard to find time to fit anything in sometimes x
It really can be difficult, and yet it’s SO important to find that balance!
It’s definitely important to have a good work/life balance! I could do with a separate area for blogging and youtube!
Having that separate space is so helpful
With work and uni taking over lately, I really needed to read this post.
I think it’s something we all struggle with from time to time
Such a helpful post, thanks for sharing.
Glad it was helpful! Thanks for reading!