• Theo

Managing Work and Managing Life

We all know that we are meant to find the perfect work/life balance in order to take care of our mental health. In today’s society, that is often easier said than done. Work is demanding and sometimes we feel stuck in this endless rat race unable to prioritise our wellbeing. Ultimately though, we have to find a way to live life to the best of our ability so how do we manage that?

Most of us at least work for eight hours a day and we should theoretically sleep for eight hours leaving a free eight hours which sounds like a lot. The thing is, in those eight hours we are usually preparing food, cleaning, eating, or preparing for work. You can see why it’s easy to get bogged down with life. It can feel like a meaningless routine from which there’s no escape.

The easiest place to review first is your work life. Work should run from a dedicated time (I.e. 9am till 5pm). Firstly, do everything in your power to keep work within that time frame. Once your working day is finished, leave it until the next day. Naturally if you run your own business that can seem impossible but it is important to have those boundaries in place. If work is taking over your free time, then it’s just a matter of time until you experience burnout.

Secondly, at work, keep lists. Jot down everything that is in your head, fill up your calendar both on paper and electronically. Capable people often try to retain everything in their heads but similarly to a computer, we run out of space. In order to function at your best, you need to keep your mind as clear as possible. Writing things down means that you don’t have to rely on your memory. Good organisation is one of the keys to being successful in your work.

With work, be sure to use your breaks. That means your daily breaks but also your holiday. A lot of people plan their holidays booking it a long time in advance and that may work for some but for others, it may be worth saving it until you feel like you need a break. That way, if you feel yourself heading towards burnout, you can use a few days to recover. It may also be worth trying to space your holiday out so that you can have somewhat regular breaks. For example, if you have four weeks off in a year, book a week off every quarter. We are all different so do what works for you.

Regarding your daily breaks, go outside if you can to get some fresh air, stretch your legs. Stepping away from your work area for a few minutes can make a big change to your performance and breaks up your working day. Suddenly those eight hours don’t feel so long when it’s broken up with something else.

The last point to mention when trying to manage your work life is to keep an open line of communication with your manager. If you feel that a process could be improved or that the business could benefit from a certain change, bring it up with your manager. Businesses want to run effectively so if you come up with a solution for something, they will be thankful. Be open to the fact that they may not understand straight away or some of your ideas may be rejected. That’s ok. What’s important is that you’re doing your best.

Now we get to figure out how to manage your private life away from the office…

Once again, planning is crucial. You know your working hours so you have to dedicate time to all of the other things that need doing. Firstly, it may be worth looking at meal times. Planning out meals will help you budget, as well as giving you an idea of timing. If you finish work at 5pm and start cooking at 6pm, you want to start eating by 6.30pm. That’ll hopefully mean you’re free from 7.30pm onwards. Meal prep is pretty popular. If you cook large portions on the weekend of different meals, you can freeze them and use them during the week to save on cooking time. It really depends on your lifestyle.

Exercise is also really important so factor in at least 30 minutes a day when you can exercise. Mornings are ideal, but personally, I prefer afternoon or evenings. Try to come up with different workouts for each day if you can or just stick to a simple walk.

We all need fun in our lives to stay sane but finding the time can be hard. Look for a gap during your week when you can do something you like whether it’s going for a night out on the weekend or sightseeing not too far from home, you should do it. Again, planning is ideal so arrange it with friends or even by yourself but put it. In your planner.

Speaking of which, having some kind of planner is a great way to keep your life organised and not rely on memory. Setting events in your phone can send actual reminders for when you need to go somewhere or do something but having a physical planner can be more satisfying. If you have a busy lifestyle, having a day to day planner may be perfect as you can see how your days are set out and utilise every hour in your day.

If your life feels too busy, see what you can cut out. Some days, you may decide to get a take away to save on time. You may also see that you’re doing something that isn’t worth it anymore (I.e. some kind of club). Equally, you may look at your finances and see you can hire help (I.e. a dog walker) to ease the workload some days.

It’s impossible to stay stress-free all of the time but by staying clear-headed, we can get pretty close. Take one day at a time and focus your energy on the present. Yes we can plan, but we shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on what’s to come. Instead, focus on your life as it is now.

It all starts with organisation. Once we have that, everything else falls into place through prioritisation.

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