Why it’s important to find time for yourself each day and to turn off from work completely – here are some top tips for finding the right work-life balance
“All work and no play makes Macca go something something…”
I can’t remember the last time I left the house. Honestly, I can’t.
I think it was 42 hours ago, but I can’t quite be sure.
I spoke to my girlfriend on the phone for about 14 minutes yesterday. Apart from that the only other voice I’ve heard is my own when I shouted “where’s the fucking potato peeler!” last night. I could tell I was frustrated then.
Otherwise, I’ve just been staring at a screen writing, editing photos or playing around with videos. That’s literally all I’ve been doing. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
This is the very unglamorous side to blogging – being at home, working out why you haven’t left the house in days.
The thing is, I do this every time I’m between trips.
All I do is work work work trying to catch up and clear the slate, and then I’m off again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love creating content. I just wish I had a much better work-life balance, I really do.
It’s something Chloe and I have spoken about all year. We’re good at talking about it but then all of a sudden it’s 10pm and we’re still at our laptops.
The thing is, and this is the real kicker, is I know I’d be so much more productive if I went outside and cleared my head.
So this is it, these are the things I’m going to work on to get a better work life balance.
I really hope you find them useful too – make sure you let me know!
Finish work at 7pm
Most days when I’m working from home I’m sat in front of my laptop at 8:30am and I won’t leave until around 9pm with an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner.
That means I’m ‘working’ (read: watching cat videos on YouTube) for about 11 and a half hours each day which is just ridiculous when you think about it.
From now on, I want to finish at 7pm, regardless of what’s going on. Laptop closes, business is done for the day. Time for Bake Off.
That means no Instagramming and Tweeting too
And when I say business is done for the day, I mean all social media too.
I don’t think there’s much of a difference going from a chair to a sofa just to play on your phone and update social media.
I know I for one stare at my phone wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much (as I wrote that sentence I actually stopped myself from checking my phone, just to make the point).
I think this is a mindset more than anything else but it’s so much better being present, in the moment, than letting your mind wander, so that means no Instagram and Twitter! Remember, this is about a work-life balance, not a work-work balance!
Get outside and exercise, even if it’s just a short walk
I’m a keen hiker and I love being outside, so I don’t know what I torture myself by locking myself indoors all day. When I’m inside I usually walk between 1,000-2,000 steps a day. I’m supposed to do 10,000 a day. Very bad I know.
I used to have a FitBit (which is now long dead), but it did give me the drive to hit that step counter each day. I think for my own mental health it’s time I got another one again! Or maybe I should take up yoga?
Work smarter, not harder
I remember the days when I used to bash out a blog post in an hour or so. Yes, the blogosphere has changed a lot since then but I’m sure it’s still possible!
One thing I’ve started doing to get a better work-life balance is setting time limits on myself. Instead of just saying “well I only have one deadline, I can take my time over it,” I’m being much more structured.
Each morning I’ll write out my top three things I’d like to achieve for the day, how long it’ll take to do each one, and then go from there. Already I feel like I’m achieving much more with my day.
Don’t be such a perfectionist
I am so guilty of this one. I can’t tell you how long I spend editing photos each day. Does it really matter if I don’t Photoshop out an annoying seagull that’s in the distant horizon? No, not really. I’ve got the remind myself no one is hung up on the minor details as I am. At the end of the day 99% of people won’t notice the small things, and it’s them I’m writing for.
The beautiful thing about blogging is it’s raw, it’s real. I think I’ve forgotten that one and I want to get it back.
Do it tomorrow – honestly, no one will mind
Too many times has an email come in at 9pm with a minor request from a client on a piece of work I’m doing, then all of a sudden I’m firing up the laptop again ensuring I do it asap.
Does it really need to be done then? Of course not. I feel there are so many tasks I can push back till next day. It’s reasonable to think clients can wait 12/24 hours so you should think the same.
Start small. Build from there
I think it’d be unrealistic to think that all of a sudden I’m going to get a perfect work-life balance just from writing this post. I know it takes work, but I’ve got to be open to changes in my life knowing they’re for the better, knowing that it’s worth it in the long run, and I really think it is.
I’m going to take a couple of these points in this post and really focus on them.
I want to revisit this post again in a few months to let you know how I’m getting on, but if you suffer from a really bad work-life balance too then hopefully we can do it together.
Also, if you’ve got any tips on how to achieve a better work-life balance I’d love to hear from you, so let me know your best tips and advice in the comment box below. Here’s to relaxing more! Right, I’m going to make a cuppa…
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