I have been the worst workaholic in the early part of my career – working on weekends, working late evenings, and making work the number one priority in life. I have done all that. And believe me, it is neither sustainable nor healthy.
Perhaps the only saving grace was that I was doing it on my own choice and motivation, and without being pushed by my boss or peer pressure. And perhaps that is the reason I could continue it for so long (7 years).
How Do I Keep Work Life Balance Now? And How Can You?
What Are Your Priorities?
List down what is important to you in life. Then think about where does work fits in, in your list of priorities. Think about health, family, hobbies, sports, etc.
If you prioritise work over everything else, beware that you might run out of fuel soon, or suffer a crisis / burnout. A crisis can be an injury, a sickness, depression or strained relationships with people around you.
Make Your Hours More Productive
Avoid working more hours to get more done. Instead :-
- What can you delegate to others?
- What can you outsource?
- What should you say NO to? (Hint : a lot)
- Eliminate distractions. Turn off all notifications.
- Pomodoro technique. Work in small bursts of time.
- Set and enforce your own boundaries. Then hold yourself accountable.
Avoid Being A Perfectionist
Decide what is “good enough” for now. Resist the temptation to make everything perfect. Believe me, I have been there.
Once you have a done a “good enough” job in anything, you can always improve it later. Life is an iterative process, and don’t get stuck trying to be perfect. Keep moving.
Have a Hobby
Often a hobby will end up helping you in your professional work too. It is counterintuitive but true. It will force you to step out of your comfort zone, which can be a refreshing.
Having a hobby will give you a different perspective as you meet new people. It can also make you a better all-round thinker, and more creative at work.
Having a hobby can help you exercise your body or mind in other ways that your work doesn’t. Taking a break often make our brains work better when we resume our usual work.
More than anything else, you will have fun.
It is a Process. Not a Destination.
Work Life Balance is never complete. Every once in a while, you will always go out of balance, and that is ok.
When it happens, reflect on what you are missing out on – family, fun, health, travel, etc. Then ask yourself – Is it (work) worth it? Adapt to re-balance whenever you find yourself out of balance.
There is More to Life than Increasing its Speed.
Sometimes slowing life down and taking time to relax and travel can have unintended long term benefits.
The best way to clear muddy water is to leave it alone. Then you can see right through it. If you have a cluttered life, perhaps you need to do the same. Slow things down, and you will be able to see more clearly what is really important in life.