Work-Life Balance - and three mistakes you could be making in trying (and failing) to achieve it
Life balance is a phrase that's mentioned a lot when it comes to seeking out contentment and happiness in life. But what exactly is it? Well, let's start with what it isn't. It doesn't necessarily mean splitting your time between work and home 50/50, it's about spending your time, effort and focus on different aspects of your life in the proportions you'd want them to be spent. So, if you absolutely love your career, you might enjoy spending most of your time in the office, and you're happy to split the time left over on everything else. However, that balance might not be right for another person - so really life balance is a very individual thing.
Below are three mistakes you could be making when attempting to find the perfect life balance for you. They’re the three most common reasons that come up with my coaching clients. Together we work on addressing them in a way that is right for them.
1) One of the biggest mistakes people make when they struggle with finding life balance, is that they don't know what they want. They might moan that they balance isn’t right, but they haven't got clarity on how they'd like to ideally spend their time. So, if they don’t spend some time thinking and reflecting on what they want, how on earth are they going to get this holy grail of life balance? Some people just copy others and assume that if everyone else is spending their time doing x, y & z, then they should be doing that as well. Wrong.
Take some time out and think about the ideal way you’d like to be spending your time. Doing what? With whom? For how long? How often? Be specific. Visualise yourself doing it and living that balanced life. Also visualise how you’ll be feeling.
2) Another mistake people make is that their mindset is all wrong. If they're feeling stressed, overwhelmed and their life feels like it's totally unbalanced and out of control, they might tell themselves, “There’s no alternative - this is how it is, so suck it up". This is a complete closed mindset, a limiting belief and completely untrue.....well it's untrue if you want different.
To rectify this, we need to start telling our brain of the possibilities that are available to us, not the limitations we have put upon ourselves. The key here is catching those thoughts and nipping them in the bud before they spiral in your mind. Once you’ve caught them, then it’s time to reframe them to something positive. Remember the brain takes on what you tell it as truth. Also try and help your brain have a more open mindset. Help it out with asking it, “how could I get a better life balance?”, “who could help me?”, “what other resources do I have to help me?, rather than writing any possible improvements off immediately.
3) Another major mistake in failing to find the right work-life balance could be your approach to time management. Have you ever started something and hours later you're still working on it, having planned to have finished up a long time ago? This then has a negative effect on everything else you needed or wanted to get done, so you end the day feeling like you've accomplished very little and annoyed with yourself.
Time is our most precious commodity - we're never getting it back, so it's vital we use it effectively and efficiently. Often, we're not taught how to make time work for us, but once you know how to make it work for your individual circumstances, work-life balance starts to show up. There are lots of different ways to approach time management, but it’s a case of trial and error to find out which method works for you. There’s time blocking, using the urgent/ important matrix, pomodoro technique and so many more – all work brilliantly, but it’s individual choice which is the best one for you.
If you’re struggling with this and in need of some support with striking the right work-life balance, then get in touch and we can discuss how I could help, either by working 1:1 or joining my Create Better Life Balance masterclass I have coming up very soon.