Work-life balance is a term that gets bandied about an awful lot, but is it actually achievable?
Personally, I think it is absolutely possible for you to achieve a balance that works for you. But of course, I would – it’s what I help my clients achieve every day, after all!
So let’s get straight into the juicy detail, so I can show you how you can achieve a balance that is right for you and your life.
The first really important thing to mention here is that work-life balance isn’t about simply segregating ‘work’ and ‘life’.
It’s about achieving an overall life balance. For example, if you love the work you do, it might not always feel like work to you, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need time for other things in your life too. Equally, however much you love your family, looking after them can feel like hard work at times, particularly if you’ve got kids!
You are at the centre of all that you do, so it doesn’t really matter whether a particular activity comes under the umbrella of work, or life. If something uses up your time, energy and headspace (even if you enjoy it!) you might need to think about how you balance it out with other things in your life. And most importantly, how you recoup some of the resources you used up so you can feel good, remain healthy and keep putting your efforts into the things and people that are most important to you.
And this is where we really start to get into the juicy stuff!
A large proportion of my clients are small business owners. As a result, they are often wearing multiple hats and juggling a wide variety of demands on their time. So they can’t just suddenly put all that to one side and switch off from it all.
Whether they are a solopreneur or supporting a small team, they are regularly prioritising all the daily tasks they need to do, coming up with fresh ideas about how to move their business forward, and learning new skills, or honing existing ones, so they can continue to keep all the cogs turning.
One of the wonderful things about owning your own business is that you get to decide your schedule. But this is a double edged sword. You get the flexibility and freedom, but you are also responsible for making sure the business stays afloat.
That can be a very heavy load to carry. It often leaves business owners feeling they need to work long hours in order to get everything done.
So when my clients first come to me, they are often struggling with one or more of the following problems:
- They struggle to switch off and be present with their family, even though they have allocated time to it.
- They find themselves being drawn back into doing more work, outside of ‘working’ hours.
- They don’t have any time for themselves, and often leave their own needs until last.
Maintaining a balance to your life that works for you, is not as simple as assigning time for work-related tasks and life-related chores, and then having some time left over to spend doing nice things with the people you love, or for yourself.
If it were that simple, there would be no need for people like me, and we wouldn’t have an epidemic of overworked people, stress-related illnesses, and burnout-related loss of performance.
Of course you have what it takes to be able to do your job well, and even to juggle multiple roles and responsibilities. But if your internal resources are constantly being drained, without let up, then you will likely find yourself suffering with symptoms such as overwhelm, brain fog and getting easily distracted. The knock on effects include things like procrastination, poor sleep and doubting your decisions.
Other signs that indicate that you aren’t enabling your brain and body to work at their best include:
- Feeling anxious or agitated when you step away from the desk or sit still for too long
- Feeling unable to take time for yourself because there is always something else that needs doing first
- Feeling guilty or worried that you’ll let someone down if you don’t get something done immediately.
And it’s these feelings and drivers that are really the problem here.
When I work with my clients, we might do a bit of work around the logistics of achieving balance in their business and life. But they’re intelligent people, and they have often already tried many time-saving hacks, and prioritisation techniques. It’s rare I teach them a new one that they don’t already know about.
The huge changes come when we work on the feelings and drivers that are preventing them from stepping away or switching off.
We break them down, we explore the challenges, and we find ways to overcome them.
That might be through gaining clarity on what’s important to them, or through rewiring the subconscious pathways. Ultimately, we find the root cause and we work there to resolve it, so they can find a balance between all the things that are important to them, without feeling like they’re neglecting any one area.
Here’s what Claire had to say about her 1-2-1 coaching experience:
“When I work with Jo she works holistically and not just on one thing. For example we worked on my health and my business and sometimes whatever comes up at the time – even to just get things off my chest with no judgment! She has a way of getting you to find your own way whether that be within yourself or your business. She definitely helps keep me on track!!”
If you’re struggling to consistently find a balance that works for you, it’s not that it’s impossible, or a myth. However, it might be that you haven’t yet explored and removed the drivers that prevent you from achieving it.
One more really important thing to note here, is that the right balance for you will be completely different to the right balance for someone else. There is no one size fits all.
But, as well as that, the right balance for you will also change. Regularly.
It is not static, but an ever fluid concept. So I also make sure that my clients go away with the awareness, insight and tools to be able to get perspective and make adjustments that feel right for them and their unique situation, as and when they need to.
If you’d like to know more about how you can work with me, you can find more information here: https://wattcoaching.co.uk/why-work-with-me/