Balancing Act

6 Jul

I’d like to think that I have a semblance of work-life balance (or maybe that’s an illusion?)  I know that I try my hardest to switch off when I leave the office.  I love it that I have a self-imposed moratorium on opening work emails when I’m back in the flat because it means I can switch off completely (although there have been times when I have succumbed to the temptation to look at my office emails just to check on things!).  Alan always reminds me that I shouldn’t do work at home because I’m not paid for it.  But it’s hard to switch off what has been ingrained in me: to work hard and make sure that everything you do is the best possible.  That entails thinking about things even after work.  It makes sense though.  I should learn to switch off so that I work at my optimum during the hours that I am paid to work!

I was looking at different articles online for tips about achieving work-life balance.  Mainly because it’s such a mystery to me why I’m so exhausted on Mondays.  I came across one from the Microsoft Business Resource site.  I found myself nodding and mmmm-ing my agreement.  So let me paraphrase (as I understand them) their 7 tips for achieving worklife balance (am only doing this to really drum it into my head as well, might prove to be a good trick!):

  1. Don’t overbook. — Even though the old adage of “making hay while the sun shines” is something I will adhere to, and even thought I want to squeeze everything into a day, I need to learn to accept that I can’t do everything in the time frame I’ve allotted for it.  There will always be intervening factors.  And squeezing everything in will not give me enough to time to do everything properly.
  2. Prioritise ruthlessly. — There are things that must come first.  And unfortunately, because things must come first, there will be things that will come last.  That is an unavoidable truth that I must learn to accept.  I shouldn’t feel guilty about prioritising something over the other.  That’s just the way things go.
  3. Learn to say no. — I’ve always been a doer and when you’re a doer, the phrase “no can do” is the hardest thing to say.  But I think that powerful word is something I must learn to say.  Everything is a compromise and not everything is doable.  And to manage expectation (and I hate it when I let people down, so I feel the burden even more!), I must learn to say no to thing.
  4. Organise. — I am Forgetful Jones personified (if you grew up on Sesame Street, you’ll know who I mean!)!  And one way of coping with this is writing everything down.  This is my ode to organisation, if you will.  I’ve found that if I don’t have my to-do list, I forget to do things.  Hence, my notebooks are filled with scribbles, highlighted notes and post-its.  All in the name of not forgetting ANYTHING.  While my desk is full of knick-knacks and may sometimes look a bit choc-a-bloc, there is method in my madness and people can find things on my desk (although sometimes when people try to find things on my desk, they leave it in such a state that I have to bite my tongue from uttering multiple expletives about respecting other people’s things.).
  5. Use technology. — Can I just say that I love my iPhone?  Mainly because it lets me do everything and I’ve never really managed to do that on any other kind of phone (might be because I wasn’t adventurous enough then though!).  It’s made my life a lot simpler!
  6. …but don’t overdo it. — There are times when I tell myself to put down the phone and step away from it.  There are other things to do and other things to think about.  Technology can and will take over your life, if you let it!
  7. Know it won’t always be perfect. — This bit is probably the toughest pill to swallow.  I want everything just so and sometimes, it just isn’t possible.  I think I can be quite the perfectionist and things sometimes don’t work out the way I want it to (not for the lack of trying though!).  I think I need to make sure I understand that sometimes, just done is good enough.

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