Everyone wants to have a work life balance. If you are experiencing burned out, I feel you. That’s something we want to escape as soon as possible.
I experience burned out in my previous finance job. I was working until past midnight and work during the weekend.
However, after several years of burned out, I realize that work life balance is not something to “find”.
We want to balance our life because we want to be happy. But, happiness is not something to pursue. We can’t “find” happiness.
I made my own decision to quit and find another job (still in finance, yes). And finally, I am grateful that I am not feeling burned out by now.
When you are determined, you will always find a way. You can create your own happiness. And you can create your balance. Because you are the one who builds your own path.
You might be wondering that it’s not easy to create your own path. After all, so many factors that contribute to your life. Our life is complex. Yes, I know it’s not easy! I feel the same too. But it’s possible. You only need to start taking action.
Here are 7 ways to create a work life balance.
1. Practice mindfulness when you are working
Mindfulness has taught me to be fully aware of ourselves. And that includes our job.
Mindfulness is not only about breathing and sit still. Yes, there is an aspect of breathing technique in mindfulness meditation. But you can practice mindfulness without meditation! (Well, the image is only an example)
Mindfulness is about to fully aware of every aspect of our life. It can comes in many form. You can be mindful while you walk, write, meditate (of course!), until washing the dishes.
To practice mindfulness at work, you can try to:
- Take one minute deep breath when you are switching to another task
- Stop for a moment when you get disturbed
- Take a mindful break without using phone during lunch time
- Take a neutral understanding about the purpose of your task (non-judgement)
You can practice mindfulness to deeply think about what do you really need about work and life.
When you’re cultivate mindfulness of your thought, you will realize what you truly need. You will listen to your inner self, not the outside factor.
2. Distinguish between your needs and wants about work and life
There is a difference between what you need and what you want. You might know already what you need to survive—food, shelter, or health.
While something what you want is different. I think this best described with the Stoic says about indifference.
The Stoic said that what we want is indifference. What’s that mean by indifference? That is, it’s not necessary for your life where you can survive without it. In a way, you can neglect it.
The Stoic categorizes preferred and dispreferred indifference. The preferred indifference is something that we want, beneficial, and can build us a virtue. An example is an education.
On the other hand, dispreferred indifference is something that we want but won’t build us a virtue. An example is indulging in alcoholism, binge eating, or gambling.
So, it’s okay to chase what you want as long as it is beneficial for you. Or at least as it won’t harm you.
Ask yourself, what do you truly need in life? Is that wealth? Prestige? Position? Or is it happiness, peace of mind, or a good relationship?
When you are really aware of what you need, you can evaluate whether what you do is in line with what you need.
I’m not saying you should quit your job! I’m not quitting my job either. Moreover, I think it’s a blessing to still have a job to keep in this pandemic situation.
However, when you can afford to slow down and not seeking for promotion, why you want to work harder?
3. Prioritize self-care
I think self-care is an easier concept to describe than mindfulness. When you talk about work life balance with other people, how you talk about mindfulness? I think some people will raise an eyebrow and ask, “huh, what’s mindfulness”?
But when you talk that you are doing self-care, people will understand it better. Self-care is about an activity that will nourish your wellbeing.
Also, you can practice self-care at work. Since self-care is about taking care of ourselves, then, why not to practice it at work?
Both self-care and mindfulness are important to maintain your wellbeing.
You need to prioritize self-care because no one will do the self-care for you. To create a work life balance, you practice the self-care activity that nourishes your mind, body, and soul. It’s not only about indulge or pamper yourself. After all, self-care goes deeper than bubble baths or pretty things.
Listen to yourself on what you truly need. For example, when you are sleepy, you need to sleep rather than watching a video. Be mindful of the self-care activity that you choose.
4. Be realistic of your time
When creating a work life balance, remember that your time is limited to 24 hours per day. You don’t need to cram out everything to have an “equal” balance. It only will confuse and overwhelm you.
Instead, allocate your time to a reasonable schedule. For instance, you can have one hour of self-care after work or 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation if you’re busy. When you have more time, of course, you can do your passion project for five hours.
There’s no exact formula for balancing your life because every person is different. You know best how to balance your time.
5. Practice non-attachment
If you never heard of non-attachment, it’s about learning how to let go of the thoughts and emotions that create suffering. I also want to add that non-attachment is to detach ourselves from what we currently have.
In a religious saying, the Buddha said that the root of suffering is attachment. In order to alleviate our suffering, we should practice non-attachment.
For me, practicing non-attachment is not only about religious or spiritual context, but it’s about all elements of life.
I personally think that what defines us is not all about our work. After all, life is not all about work and being productive (if you are an overachiever or a workaholic, hopefully you don’t mind by reading this!).
You might have another life outside of work. That might include a family, hobby, or religious service that you do on a daily basis.
Moreover, we can’t always expect that the result of our hard work will bring happiness. Because, no matter how hard you work, the result is not up to you. Your boss or your colleagues’ response is not something you can control. For example, you might also face a disturbing fact like a bad performance review result despite how much you work hard (well, no, I’m not talking about myself. Peace!).
Is it sounds devastating? At first, I thought the same.
However, I realize that it merely liberates us.
Detaching ourselves means less controlling. Fully controlling the things outside of our control is near impossible. That will only make you tired and worry more.
By detaching yourself from your work, you will worry less. And you can focus more on what you can control to make a work life balance for you.
6. Focus on quality work rather than quantity
Currently, hustle culture is romanticized. We hear stories from people who sacrificing their time to be productive until the last minute. Most people think it’s inspiring and we need to do the same.
However, there is a difference between being busy and productive. Being in a hustle doesn’t always mean to be productive.
You can be busy all day but not producing anything. On the other hand, you can focus on your work for 1 hour and produce a report.
If you want to be successful, then you pretty sure know how to be productive. I believe that we don’t need to hustle ourselves to be successful.
When we can focus on quality work rather than quantity, we can create a work life balance.
7. Let go of perfectionism
The last important thing is to not be a perfectionist. Because perfection is subjective. What looks good for you may not be good for the other. In this case, it’s your boss.
Instead of spending time polishing your work, better to listen to what it actually needs to finish. If you can do your task for 30 minutes, no need to do an extra 3 hours to polish it.
There’s no need to be so hard on ourselves because it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good.Anne Bogel – Don’t Overthink It
Your time is limited to 24 hour a day, so make sure you take care of yourself, too. After all, your health cannot wait.
I’m not saying to lower your quality of work. But if your longer hours costs your health, it’s too expensive for you. Not everything can be calculated with monetary unit.
What’s your best tips to have work life balance?
By applying the wisdom of mindfulness, you can create a work life balance. Balancing your life is important because life is not all about work and being productive.
Listen deeply to yourself and discover what you truly need.
To balancing your life, you can also practice self-care. Self-care is about balance. It’s about nourishing your mind, body, and soul.
You can take this free self-care guide to help you create your self-care routine. Hopefully, you can build a more balanced life!
I wish you get some inspiration to create your work life balance! What’s your favorite idea on balancing your life? I’d love to hear yours!