It’s not always easy to achieve balance in a world where women are under increasing pressure to juggle family life, eat like Deliciously Ella, workout and dress to perfection, all while ‘leaning in’ at work. A quick Google search for ‘work / life balance’ returns an astonishing 107,000,000 results in 0.38 seconds giving just a small nod to the emphasis people place on finding and maintaining equilibrium in today’s highly connected, perfection obsessed society.
So how do we achieve this elusive work / life balance and what does it really mean to the modern woman?
1. Quit your quest for perfection
Nobody is perfect and the sooner we stop striving for perfection the happier we will become. Unrealistic and unattainable benchmarks mean that we set ourselves up for failure before we’ve even started. On a personal level the sooner we realise that perfect doesn’t exist – that life is about the ups and the downs, the moments of happiness that punctuate our everyday routines – the happier and more contented we will be.
From a professional standpoint if we’re constantly striving for perfection the likelihood is things are not getting done. To quote Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, ‘done is better than perfect,’ and this mantra will help boost productivity and satisfaction at work. We should all be striving for excellence, not perfection. Excellence is balanced, proactive, productive and forward thinking. Perfection is finicky, restrictive and unattainable.
2. Make exercise part of your daily routine
Nothing gets the endorphins pumping like exercise. People who work out regularly are often less stressed and anxious, they are less prone to insomnia and illness and decrease their risk of serious health problems. In short, people who work out are more likely to be happier and feel more contented than those who don’t. Furthermore, those of us that set aside time each day to exercise are spending less time in front of a screen and more time thinking about what it is we want to achieve in the short and long term. So get your running shoes on gurl!
3. Schedule me time
Even self-confessed workaholics need time out, and by time out I mean time alone. You should never underestimate the importance of enjoying your own company. Schedule a date in your diary for quality me time, just like you make time for your friends, colleagues and family. Have a bath, meditate, go for a run or read a book. It will help clear your mind, provide you with clarity and help you feel refreshed.
4. Get organised
Organisation is one of the most important life skills you can learn and will truly help you find work / life balance. The ability to plan your work day, set goals and achieve them, get to meetings and appointments on time will mean that you can also schedule in time for pleasure. A drink with pals, dinner with your other half, a gym session or a cheeky Netflix binge. People that say they are ‘too busy to have a life outside work’ are just disorganised. Learn what makes you productive and proactive and play to your strengths.
5. Do what makes you happy
Finding work / life balance is different for everybody. For some of us a good work / life balance is spending three out of five days at home with children; for others it’s working 6am to 8pm then going for a drink with friends. It all boils down to what makes you happy.
Modern women are under pressure every day to be slimmer, larger, stronger, prettier, to earn more money, to work harder, to work less, to spend more time with family, with friends, in the office, but in actual fact work / life balance is different for every single one of us and finding that balance is a very personal mission. We all just need to relax and cut ourselves some slack and the rest should fall into place.