Once upon a time there was a woman in search for the perfect work-life balance in a world spinning so fast not even the quickest person could keep up. Every morning she would wake up at 5:30 to the piercing buzzer of her iPhone alarm clock in hopes of making her 6AM work out just blocks down the street. Every morning, she picked up her phone to turn that alarm off only to find hundreds of work related notifications all flagged as urgent. As this frazzled young woman scrolled through her emails, Slack Messages, Trello Boards and texts from her boss, the clock kept on ticking and slowly but surely the idea of making it to that 6:00AM workout faded to the back of her mind and there, off into dust. Soon enough, without even a dent made in the plethora of messages her morning turns into panic mode. How will she shower, get ready, and make it to the office before 8:30. Step 1 was to eliminate the getting ready… Undone hair is in right?
As she snuck into the office just a minute after 8:30 at her job that technically began at 9:00AM, she felt a sense of shame when she noticed her entire team was already there, noses into their computers, fully started on their day. It was the unspoken rule, if you showed up this late, you had to be the last one out of the office at night.
As the clock hit 7:30 the entire team was still at the office, cranking out work, while peaking over their shoulder in hopes someone was ready to throw in the towel. 8PM came and went and finally at 8:30 the early risers began to trickle out. And finally at 9PM the young lady was able to get out of her desk chair and head home with just enough time to enjoy a Postmated dinner and close her eyes.
The story is so relatable for so many it’s sad. How do we continue burning the candle at both ends and still expect growth and success? No matter how you define success, I do not see 12 hour work days 6 days a week (Sundays you only have to spend 7 obviously) with no time for any personal growth a vehicle to get there.
A wise woman once told me, ‘The best education happens outside the rules of the classroom.’ I am a firm believer that this doesn’t just apply to our traditional education system. As we live and breathe in the professional world, it’s so apparent to me that the best ideas and concepts come to us when we let go of logic and start enjoying our personal life.
Work-life balance isn’t just something the older generation believes only millennials ask for. Work-life balance is the key to overall success in not only your personally life but mostly in your professional life.
Although it seems impossible to actually achieve, the following steps have be extremely helpful for me to start down the path of being a happy, healthy being.
1. Let go of perfectionism
As a young child, I was complimented on all of my perfect assets. My school work was flawless. I was the most driven athlete. I was even put in a smiling pageant for God’s sake. At that age, being driven to be perfect, isn’t so bad, but as you grow and develop and take on more responsibilities, the pressure of perfectionism becomes destructive.
I know it seems like a daunting ridiculous idea, especially as a digital marketing professional, but assigning time to be without a phone has been the biggest help. If you don’t let go, your work day will never end. There we times on nights out where I would find myself emailing a boss trying to put out work fires while sipping a glass of wine (or two… let be honest) and trying to maintain a conversation in a loud bar. It’s been such a struggle to put this step into motion but now, my fiancé has stopped doing a double take when I walk out of the house on date night with my phone plugged in on my nightstand and instead smiles that we have a night all to our self. Sorry clients, you’re not invited to date night any longer!
Exercise was always the first thing to go when things got busy. Not only did my body feel it, but my brain felt it as well. Exercise is such a great stress reducer yet when we get stressed so many of us look at our planners and say ‘FORGET IT!’ I’ve made it my mission to spend at least 45 minutes on a bike at 15 minutes with weights every day and I can tell you it’s helped mine mind so much. Now if I could just stop enjoying these Girl Scout Cookies, I’m sure my body would show the results as well!
4. Limit time-wasting activities and people
I can tell you I spent so much so much of younger years suffering from FOMO. I was the queen of staying at cocktail hour till the last person in fear of missing the exciting moments. If there was a party, I was there. Dinner I was invited to by acquaintances, count me in! If something was going down on Instagram, you better guess I was scrolling through the feed making sure there wasn’t a moment I missed. If this doesn’t sound exhausting, God bless you! But realistically, with a busy work schedule, how could you keep up a superficial schedule and tending to those who really matter. It was a hard lesson to learn but sometimes, you have to say no. Sometimes you have to get out of the time-wasting downward spiral you’ve let yourself slip into and find your priorities.
5. Change the structure of your life
I’ve began ask myself, what changes would make my life easier. Thankfully, my on the go family raised me to be flexible and making whatever adjustment I need has been fairly easy to me. For years, I lived in Las Vegas and worked a great job but I found that working around the clock hours managing the digital marketing for a company based in Vegas and having a fiancé based in Los Angeles made for a very stressful life. So I made the biggest change I’ve made in my life and told my long time boss it was time for me to make a move.
6. Start small. Build from there
I’m sure you’ve been there just as many times as I have been. We’ve all started those crazy workout regimens where we do two work outs a day and we think we’re going to be so fit by the end of it. After week two, those two work outs a day turn to one and slowly fade to every other day. Change takes time so don’t go all in all at once. Start with unplugging from life for 30 minutes every day while you sit down for dinner.
Do you have any tips for finding a balance between work and personal life? We'd love to learn from you in the comments