The idea of there being such a thing as a work-life balance only broke in to the urban Indian consciousness around the nineties. Most people took it pretty vaguely, adding a mental note to spend more time with their kids, or to go for a good holiday on weekends. Achieving a work-life balance, however, is not just about holidays or weekends. It’s a daily effort to ensure that your work and your life outside of work are both rich and fulfilling.
That makes it a little harder, right? Where, you might ask, can I find a balance between commuting, rushing to work, checking mails on the run, managing a house or a family? It might appear to be more of a race than a balancing act. However, there are better and healthier ways to pull this off. Here are some tips that might help you out:
- Make your to-do list more comprehensive
Your to-do list doesn’t just need to be a list of chores. Add some good stuff there, like taking a walk in the park, or making paper swans with your child. It helps to have something to look forward to, and it’s more likely to be done when it’s written into your schedule.
- Focus on your work, while you’re at work
We often tend to procrastinate in the office, to take off on internet trails, keep a lot of things pending and then try to finish things at home. Instead, try and keep your work time more productive, so that your free time is really free.
- Switch off when you need to
Yes, you’ve heard this before, but you probably haven’t done it as much as you’ve heard it. Switch off your phone, your laptop, give your full attention to whatever you’re doing at the moment, whether it’s cooking or spending an evening out with your friends. We’re not as good at multi-tasking as we imagine, and a half-presence is a lot more exhausting than you’d think.
- Take small breaks through your workday
Taking 10 minutes for a breather, read a book or talk to a friend makes a big impact on your day. It might also help you focus better because short breaks refresh your mind. Just try to avoid spending them in front of a screen, because that’s not really a break at all.
- Prioritise and make time for personal and health-related things
Create a weekly schedule with things you keep postponing – like health-check-ups, marathon training, signing up for a new course. Make sure that you actually do them, before the next new year’s resolutions start getting ignored.
- Explore unstructured activity
Spending time with family or friends or kids doesn’t mean you need to chart a plan for the evening. Schedule it, yes, but allow the activity to be open, sometimes. You could take a short drive and end up in a new part of town, trying out a new restaurant, meeting some interesting strangers – allow explorations and discoveries in their own space and time.
- Learn something new
One of the things that keeps us motivated is the excitement of learning. Take up weekend language classes, Pilates, theatre workshops, anything that you haven’t tried before. You’ll find yourself a lot more committed to balance when there’s something you really want to grow in.