Often the lines between work and life can get a little blurred. Particularly if, like me, you either love your job or work for yourself. Interestingly, those who are passionate about their job or who get a lot of validation through it will have a higher tendency to lose themselves and their balance in their professional life. Here are some simple ways to try and strike a good balance for you between work and your personal life:
1. Be honest with yourself. Does losing that balance sometimes payoff? That might sound a little crazy but you'd be surprised. Hiding in work means you may have the perfect excuse not to go on that awkward date, attend that social event that you really can't be bothered to go to or see family members who drive you crazy! Everything we do, we do subconsciously and not without a payoff.
2. Emails. Given that emails are delivered to pretty much every device, there can be a strong temptation to check them wherever you are. Set some boundaries for yourself around how and when you answer your emails. If you work for someone else, leave work at the office. That means, no checking mails until the morning after you leave to go home. This can be the most time consuming action, likely to definitely tip the scales out of balance. We often underestimate how long it takes us to read and reply to every email.
3. Manage expectations. Set up an auto reply on your emails giving people an idea of a realistic response time. You could also let colleagues know that once you've gone for the day, you won't be available until the morning. You'd be amazed at how much pressure comes off once people know what they can expect. Stand your ground firmly but lovingly and, like children, they will eventually learn.
4. Take responsibility. You may have created an imbalance but you do have the power to redesign your life. Sit down and map out how you spend the hours that you have available. Really raise your own awareness to what your priorities have been. See what you have chosen and consciously decide what to choose moving forward. Often, we just aren't aware of how we allocate our time. Seeing it all laid out on paper will make it easier to make some simple adjustments to restoring the balance.
5. Make yourself a priority in your life. What makes you happy? What makes your heart sing? What do you love? After you have seen how you allocate your time and have figured out what makes you happy, make sure that those things take priority in your schedule. When you come to the end of your life, it will be those things that you'll wish you'd done more of. I'm pretty sure you won't be saying 'oh, if only I checked that last email...’
6. Be present. All imbalances come from a lack of awareness around what we are doing and where we are now. If you are at work, be at work. If you are at home, be at home. Just 'be' where you are. No-one really wins when you are sacrificing yourself to please everyone and get everything done. You end up rushing and half-heartedly doing everything which means no one, including you, really gets what they deserve. Become present to yourself, to your life and to your priorities. If you can do that, you will find that you naturally fall into a good flow which will for everything in your life to take place.
Finally, remember that you won't always get it right. With awareness, meditation, and knowing yourself, you will immediately feel when the balance tips out and know exactly what to do to get yourself back on track.