Let's be honest with ourselves, life is hard work. Having a job to excel at, a house to keep clean, family to feed, dogs to walk, friends to meet. The demands we all face in life are tough. Then throw social media into the mix, where everyone else seems to be 'living their best life' whilst you're stuck indoors with a washing pile. It's no wonder we are all burnt out!
We often hear ourselves saying that we are striving to obtain that work-life balance, but what does it actually mean and how exactly can we get there?
Whilst this may seem really obvious, and simple, it's actually really hard to put into practice. Sure, creating a to-do list is the easy part. Actually doing the things on the list is what stumps most of us. Often because it contains tasks that we don't really want to do, and that will lead to procrastination.
Take my washing pile as an example; Every week we do about 5-6 loads of washing, we use the tumble dryer to save time (not ideal in the summer months I know) but then it all sits in the washing basket for the rest of the week. Why? Because we both hate putting all of the clothes away, mainly the kid's clothes, it's such a big task. So if it's on my to do list, the chance of me getting any of that done is pretty slim!
At work, I advocate the art of writing things down on paper. However, one thing that has really helped our family stay organised is an app called Famcal (Scroll to the bottom for the links). It's a shared calendar that we both have access to and everything is put into it. It means neither of us double book ourselves and we set little reminders for when we need to go food shopping and put the recycling out. It also has a shared to-do list, which allows you to delegate tasks between you, meaning that you don't have to think about everything yourself!
Asking for Help
This is something I know I am terrible at. As someone who views themselves as independent and capable, the hardest thing is asking for help. But it's essential if you are going to achieve that work-life balance you're craving.
The funny thing is, is that people that care about you actually like being asked to help. Accepting that you cannot do everything by yourself is key. Once you realise this, it becomes easier to ask for help and before you know it, life gets a little easier too.
Compromise for a 'perfect life'
In a world where we have access to the lens in to everyone else's life on social media, it can feel like others have a perfect life. What you don't see is what goes on behind the scenes.
When it looks like someone has the perfect life, there is always something that's been compromised elsewhere.
It's often mentioned to me that it looks like I've got it all figured out with my business, my career success, my family, my marriage etc. But I am telling you now I definitely do not, I am winging it and there is a whole lot of compromise.
I'll give you an example, my house often looks like a bomb has gone off in it. With 2 children, 2 dogs and 2 cats, constantly making a mess, it's the biggest thing I cannot keep up with in life. I have come to terms with it (although I often lose my head over it) and for the majority of the time I focus my energy elsewhere, on things I can control a little bit more. There are occasions where it gets on top of me and builds up to a lot of stress, but this usually kicks my butt into action to do something about it!
The scales will tip
The secret is that you can achieve a work-life balance, but expect it to be short lived.
When you finally feel like you have it nailed down, the scales will begin to tip again. Swaying in favour for your work or in favour for your life. This is completely normal and depends on work & life demands throughout the year.
The sooner you accept this, the earlier you will be able to recognise when it's happening and begin to work on the tilt back the other way.
I am a huge advocate for taking regular breaks, spending time with your family and resting well. This makes for a more balanced human, with more energy and focus and this can only impact your work in a positive way.
Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up!