How do you maintain a good work-life balance? Do you feel you spend a healthy amount of time across the most important areas of your life? In this blog series, K2 IT Recruiter, Sorin Petrov looks at the key areas IT consultants can focus on to help improve their career and lifestyle and achieve greater satisfaction out of life. The first in the series, this post focuses on ensuring you have your core principles locked down first so as to provide a solid foundation to be built on after.
The question that plagues even the seasoned veterans of the corporate world and one that affects freelancers the most: How do I maintain a work-life balance? You don’t. At least not in the direct sense of it, it’s not a balance scale. Dividing work and life is a brutal way to separate the two and it’s unfair to oneself to do it. There is work in life and life in work, separating them is essentially murder. The question remains though: How do I maintain a work-life balance?
1.The first step is to identify what you consider work and what do you consider life. Are the kids work or life? Probably both. Is mowing the lawn or cleaning the house, work or life? Is neatly filing all the paperwork in an oddly satisfying way work or life? To some degree, see what are the things which are tedious and which are pleasant. Which activities trade energy for goodie spirit and which ones for baddie spirit. Which activities make you feel like a s’more melting in hot cocoa, and which activities make you think that Armageddon doesn’t actually sound that bad. After you’ve more or less identified them, try to keep the amount of armageddon balanced to the amount of melted s’mores. S’more or less.
2. The second step is to identify how much of your time is socializing. Socializing with colleagues about life or socializing with your friends about work? Talking next to the coffee machine about your weekend or taking a balloon ride with a client? These two need to be in balance as well. Your personal time doesn’t start when your work ends. That quick text back about the evening plans balances out the quick glance over your e-mail after hours. Nobody in the history of ever talks only about work at work and only about the home at home. They are intertwined, just make sure you don’t give too much of your time to only one or the other. We all know that one person who likes to talk about their kids all the time, even during meetings, Neville… Probably they are less known than the person who talks about work at the dinner table but still.
3. The third and final step is identifying how much work do you do away from work and how much non-work you do at work. That sneak peek at your inbox, the after-hours call, the staying a bit late to finish that spreadsheet, that’s work time in your lifetime. Balance it out with an extra coffee break, trade recipes with Mike from accounts, or take the time to write someone a personalized birthday wish (or you know, be thoughtful and call them?). It’s perfectly fine if the two blend together.
It’s not a mathematical equation, it’s more like coloring a yin-yang symbol. There is a black dot in the white half and a white dot in the black half. Make sure that the dots are pretty much of equal size and you’ll be all set.