Here are some terms to ponder today:
‘Work-life balance’ and ‘mastering time-management.’
I’m sure you’ve heard these terms thrown around like a footy on Grand Final day. But for many, finding ‘work-life balance’ can be like seeing a winner crack open a beer only to discover his team lost.
If this is you, it may be time to take a look at how slack or clueless you could be when it comes to finding work-life balance. Hence, losing at time-management.
But don’t worry. You are not alone. I was bad at time-management before I got good at it. I worked too many hours for years. I sacrificed many ‘happy life’ moments trying to get work-life balance right.
But what you don’t want to do is get stressed about reducing stress. This is one of those double-negative, not-sure-where-you’re-at, or I’m-at or other-people-are-at scenarios. Not good.
The answer is simpler than you think. As I’ve mentioned many times before, the answer is usually staring right back at you in the face.
When it comes to time, your brain can be like a big ball of tangled wool. So listen in today. I’ve got some great tips that can help you reduce stress and get your mind untangled.
Here’s the brief on what you’re in for:
- Learn how to sleep to achieve work-life zen
- Master time, a clear mind and checklist overload
- Drink less and learn how to slow it down
- Quit sticking work and life tasks in the same blender
Get Good At Sleeping
There are plenty of people the world over with sleep disorders. I’m one of them. It’s sad. Sometimes it feels as if sleep is something other people do. By the time I get myself to bed I’m wound up. I’ve spent the day kid-wrangling, cleaning, packing bags, writing, doing business and paperwork. Well, this is to name a few.
It is no wonder us mums sit up so late sofalising on Facebook. We’re all Instagramming instead of sleeping because mum time doesn’t come cheap. We need to cash in on our ‘me time’ as best we can and for many, this involves substituting sleep for fun.
Good sleep hygiene means more than switching off digital at night.
Here are a few ways you can stuff up sleep patterns and I’ve done them all:
- A crappy pillow or old mattress with poor airflow
- Stimulants like wine and coffee
- A room that isn’t dark enough
- A cold room in winter and a too-hot bed room in summer
Temperature plays a huge role in your ability to get a good night’s sleep. This is even more important in Australia’s extreme climate.
Here’s exactly what you need to do to fix this:
- Keep your room a cool and moderate temperature
- Ensure you have good airflow
- Pick the right mattress that doesn’t trap body heat
Delegate, Network & Prioritise
There are some old cultural standards that don’t favour women. Some say if us mums were happier we could prioritise better. Real life is never this simple and this is plain wrong. Women aren’t the only humans who struggle with time management. So, women also shouldn’t be at the centre of changing the outdated status quo that women struggle with it.
Unlike theories, I prefer to find practical solutions to common problems. We’ve got way too much going on to get sucked up into talk rather than action.
As a mum, the best way to achieve work-life balance is simple:
Yep, reel them in.
I’m talking about the beautiful gremlins who make up your family unit. Get them into a group-hug (a family meeting) and ask for help. Sell them the idea of ‘working as a team’ and how wonderful it is. Divvy out the jobs one-by-one until everyone can see the chores list working.
This is the only way to find the time for either personal or professional interests. Plus, you’ll find the time to make sure all work and life goals align and work together.
Here are some other ideas:
- Build a support network: Get ideas from others on how to delegate or join FB groups.
- Prioritise projects: Focus on the most pressing and important ones. This lets you free up time without guilt and feeling like you are giving up out of frustration.
Slow The Pace With It Comes To Drinking
Statistics don’t lie and take a look at this proof:
In short, and at the risk of experts sounding like your nagging nanna, this is the summary:
Drink in moderation.
There are plenty of reasons people drink, but the main one is stress. Yep. People use alcohol as a coping mechanism. This is because there’s too much work and not enough Zen (life) in their day.
Here’s another simple answer:
Slow down. My mother tells me you can actually only do one thing at a time. At first, I disagreed. But now I think she’s right. If you want to do something well, do one thing at a time. Slow down and break life down into manageable chunks. This reduces stress and lessens the need you feel to ‘cope’ with hard days in life.
There are plenty of ways to pace yourself while drinking including:
- Knowing your limit and sticking too it
- Not drinking too fast
- Starting later in the night
- Putting ice in your wine
- Eating before and while drinking
- Putting a time limit on the night
- Getting to bed at a reasonable hour
- Putting water beside your bed before partying
Get Your List Working For You
At the end of the day, you are the master of your schedule. If the act of writing a list, overwhelms you – that’s a problem. Executing a ‘too-hard basket list’ will cause you much stress. To achieve life balance try this:
- Do the opposite of what you would do
- Prioritise an hour a day for yourself
- Place tedious work tasks lower in the list
If you are burnt-out, overworked and lacking in rest – you won’t achieve those work tasks anyway. Attacking work when refreshed, rested and nourished is far more effective. Putting leisure first is not an activity you should ignore.
Choose activities that don’t allow you to do other things at the same time:
- Walking along a beach
- Doing yoga
- Reading fiction
- Going for a run or bike ride
Avoid activities where you have to compete with your boss, kids or commuting that press you for time.
Finding the right ‘me-time’ gets results.
Relaxation leads to feeling refreshed. Once refreshed you will work in a more effective way. This is a win-win because you will achieve the work-life balance you not only need but deserve.