Get a work – life balance1 March, 2014
People are struggling more and more with the work – life balance. Some tolerate their jobs which they dislike and only live for the weekend, to pay their bills or to pay for designer clothes, fine wines, fast cars and some want to declare the whole week as their own pursuing their own passion and not worry about money so count their pennies every day and stress about where the next penny is coming from. But do either manage to get the right balance for happiness or comfort and are they experiencing what they really want in life?
But are there some things that are just not worth sacrificing? Business is hard and it takes dedication, hard work and sacrifice to be successful if that’s what path you want to take. You may be on a mission to change the world, but should that also mean losing part of yourself in the process? What if we end up being detrimental to things rather than beneficial? If our friends, family and mental/physical health suffer in the process is it still worth doing? Are you going to look back in years to come and regret missing valuable time enjoying your life?
Having a valuable sense of perspective to my life. Recently, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had a heart attack, my dad also had a heart attack and is now in a wheelchair due to other health issues, where did this all come from so suddenly, or was really all that immediate? When I look back over the years I realise I have missed so much of my parent’s life. I left home at 18 and just flung myself into work, boxing, erecting a Cathy institution and building a life in London and only visited twice a year. Was I so engrossed into doing all of this that I neglected my family? Should I have visited more often? YES, I should have. However, I am lucky that I am able to change this and give them more of my time now and visit regularly, taking them places and spending time with them before they die. I have made my 6 day week a 5 day week (it only took 10 years), but I also realise that not only do I have to give my parents my time by doing this but I also need to give MYSELF more time, as I have not only neglected them but I have also neglected valuable time doing things for ME, I actually love my work but I dedicate TOO much time to it and not enough time to anything else, and I have no energy left after giving it to everyone else.
100% commitment to work does not have to mean 100% of your life. I am a great believer that you need to be passionate about your work and only work doing something you enjoy and that needs 100% commitment sometimes but that does not have to mean 100% of your life. Your work is important; it puts food on the table, it allows you to have luxuries like holidays but it is only ONE part of your life. There are other parts that are even more important: spending time with friends and family, doing things that allow you to have a disconnection from work and pursuing other interests that you enjoy but most importantly having the energy to do it. I committed myself so much into my work life that my energy levels were so low that I was too tired to do anything else and I never want to look back on my life and think what did I do other than work? I have run myself into the ground so many times and I still didn’t learn but I am now at the point where I am struggling with energy to even do my job which I love, so having the passion for what I do and working hard is now not just affecting my energy levels socially but it’s affecting what I have been throwing myself into for years. Don’t get me wrong I have had an amazing life and enjoyed it fully so far and had some amazing experiences but somewhere along the line my balance went out the window and all I seem to do is work and have little time for any new experiences, something I thrived upon years ago. So it’s time for a change for me and practice what I preach.
We are not infallible, we are human. There will still be times when I have to miss social events or have to work long hours and some weekends, but the gift is to recognise that these are exceptions and not to make it a regular occurrence. Our lives will always be in a state of energetic instability and we are never truly in exact balance as sometimes we will work too much and sometimes we will be spending too much time enjoying ourselves and that is normal but we need to make sure that we pay attention to all parts of our lives and therefore we won’t stray too far from balance in our lives. Remember that we are human beings and that we are infallible, so give yourself a break. Have a vision and be clear about what you want to achieve, ask yourself “What do I want to experience in my life?” not just in business but what do I really want to experience in LIFE and how can I achieve it without neglecting all my other areas in my life.
- Remember that life isn’t a dress rehearsal, you only get one.
- Write down your goals, not just with work but in life. Make sure you write short term and long term goals then reward yourself when you reach goals, with something non-work related.
- Change what you can, accept what you can’t. Even small changes can make a big difference, for example; have a full hour for lunch and don’t eat at your desk, even once a week to start with.
- Learn to say no. A powerful thing to be able to do, I have had to practice this one and still struggle, but it gets easier.
- Take time when you are eating, don’t rush because you have a million things to do, take 15 minutes to enjoy what you are eating. Food should be enjoyed.
- Never have regrets, always think “Will I regret if I don’t do this?”
- Take time out for you, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day (preferably 30), away from your phone, computer and work place and just sit and focus on breathing.
- Turn your television, phone, computer off when you’re with friends, family or eating.
- Sometimes just do things for YOU. There is a difference between positive selfishness and negative selfishness.
- What’s the point of working yourself into the ground and not having the health or energy to enjoy it?
- Enjoy the journey, don’t obsess over the destination. Practice mindfulness
- Make time for friends and family, devote one day a week without any work thoughts and just focus on spending valuable time with people you enjoy being with.
- Make time for your health, don’t neglect looking after yourself, too many people don’t eat during the day or at night as they haven’t got time. And get SLEEP, don’t underestimate the power of being well rested, its not big and clever to boast that you can survive on 5 hours sleep when your health is suffering.
- What YOU achieve is far more important than what others have.
- Imagine lying on your death bed, will you be saying “I wish I had skydived” or “I wish I had spent more time with x”.
ENJOY!! AND SCREW WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS.