I’ve always been someone who likes the idea of the perfect routine. Okay, maybe not ‘perfect,’ but a consistent routine that I’m capable of keeping up with on a daily basis. Dare I say, a consistent and balanced routine!
The trouble is trying to fit everything I want to accomplish into just 24 hours. From working eight to ten hours a day to trying to see friends to taking care of myself and stay sane — I’ve got a lot on my plate. And I’m sure you can relate! Plus, I tend to lose interest in new projects or hobbies; I’ve gotta switch things up to avoid getting bored.
And despite all of the Life Hacker articles and blog posts I’ve read on the importance of a routine, there’s just as many posts that argue “trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that.” And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it makes it very difficult on deciding whether or not to try the whole “work/life balance” thing.
The way I see it, it’s important to have some structure in our daily lives, but we also need to be okay with the unexpected twists and turns that life throws at us.
Easily said. But how tha heck do we actually do that?!
When it comes to routine and flexibility, I want to really devote this month to figuring out a work-life balance for my lifestyle. Because, I don’t know about you, but sometimes my attention span is that of a squirrel. I’ll buy a shiny new planner, only to find it under my bed two weeks later. While I’m at work, I try to take 15 minute breaks every hour or so, only to find myself lost on Pinterest for the last hour and a half. Reading new blog posts takes up more of my time than actually writing my own blog posts. Then I try speeding through them like a mad woman to get them posted on time.
Basically . . . there’s no balance at all. More chaos, really.
So what was it that made me realize my work-life balance was very much out of whack?
Mostly, the time spent with my friends and family felt different. My boyfriend and I could never have date night or watch a movie without me also being on my laptop or phone. I feel like I can’t relax and unwind, can’t go for a simple walk, without feeling like I’m wasting precious time that could be better spent writing a new post, checking my email, or updating my social media accounts (insert flashing light and warning sirens here!).
I keep telling myself I’ll bring my life back into balance when I get my blog to where I want it to be, when I have X subscribers, or make X$ (nevermind the fact that there will always be another goal).
So this month, I’m working on my work-life balance. I’m pulling the plug on the hustle, and bringing back the happy! The ultimate goal is to work manageable hours, have free time to spend with friends and family, as well as some time to set aside that is personally fulfilling. As daunting as this task may seem, I believe it’s very possible if I make a few simple changes to my life.
- Determine what balance means to me. Saying I want a better work-life balance is a great start! But I won’t get very far until I determine what balance really means to me. This month, I need to reassess my priorities to ensure I’m getting my needs met in both my professional and personal life.
- Set realistic expectations. I love setting goals, but sometimes my goals can be a little unrealistic. Not only that, but my goals are often forgotten about because I become bored or distracted. So this month, with each new goal I set for myself, I want to take into account my health, sanity and well-being as well as evaluating if the goal actually peaks my interest. I plan on setting one new goal a day for the different aspects of my life, set one big goal for each at the beginning of the week and track my progress at the end of the week.
- Delegate my time wisely. It’s hard creating a good work-life balance when I don’t have set work hours. I end up rushing through tasks at work because I was busy finishing a post, which should have been finished last night, but I kept getting distracted by Pinterest. I end up letting each task drag on all day and feel like I don’t get anything accomplished. So this month I want to work on assigning times to each task to help me see what’s actually doable and if my goals make sense. Not just with work and blogging, but also with my down time and time spent with friends and family.
- Tidy up my work space. A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. It’s so difficult to focus when my work space is a complete mess. A clean work space not only looks nice, but it’ll help save some time (instead of wondering where the heck I put my planner!). This month I plan on putting some effort into setting up systems and workflows in my life. Hopefully this will lead to everything running more smoothly and having more free time.
- Be Flexible. Shit happens, we all know that. While following a routine ensures that I will get stuff done, they can also be restrictive. I don’t want a to-do list filling up every hour of my day with no room for flexibility. I want to be able to cope with the unexpected if something comes up. This month, I’ll start prioritizing my life so I can free up space to be flexible and lower my stress levels. And if I ever fill stuck in a rut, I want to be able to switch things up and try something new.
- Stop wasting time on things that don’t matter! Finally, I hope in doing all these little changes, I can stop wasting time on things that don’t matter and actually focus on the things that DO matter. And even when things do pop up out of no where, I hope I can use these tools to get my mind back on the task at hand – living a purposeful life full of self-love and happiness!
And there you have it!
+Are you up for the work-life balance challenge? What tips do you have for a good work-life balance? I’d love to hear what works for you in the comments below.