As the conversation continues about work-life balance, many individuals are coming to the conclusion that it simply does not exist. New terms are emerging such as “work-life fit” or “work-life choices”.
These are much better terms to use because “balance” is different for each individual. There is no one prescription for creating balance. It is a continuous goal which must be practiced, tweaked, and managed daily in order to achieve. Therefore, it is important for individuals to strive for an acceptable balance that works for them.
Technology has not only revolutionized the way people communicate, it has also altered the way people work by allowing for more flexibility. However, this increase in flexibility also creates the need for even higher levels of organization.
Liane Hornsey, Google VP of People Operations, is a proponent of this new, more flexible work place. She believes in measuring people with “positives”, not “negatives”. She advocates not tracking sick days or holidays and instead, looking at output. No matter how it is achieved, she understands that people need a balance between work and life, and that this differs for everyone.
“Lets face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both”. Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google.
Start-ups and entrepreneurs have the option to adopt these flexible ideals into their company cultures.
Here are some tips about how you can manage your work-life balance in this new flexible and virtual age, where productivity and efficiency are still the end goal.
Use singular focus and be present while completing the task at hand
Jobs can become a source of stress and exhaustion, often due to the mind worrying about present or future concerns. In order to avoid burn-out try to “be in the now” especially when you are speaking to a colleague or client. This has been proven to increase productivity and efficiency.
Mindfulness is assisted through practices such as yoga or meditation
Meditation has been shown to increase productivity at work by stopping pointless worrying and allowing the mind to become more focused and clear.
Set your intentions for the work day in the morning
This helps you stay organized and focused.
Use transitions wisely
Take a moment for yourself while in between meetings. Be consciously aware of your surroundings while walking from place to place. Take breaks for stretching or going for a walk. Along with the many health benefits, this can help you re-center yourself so that you are better able to tackle your day.
Conscious breathing can alleviate stress and anxiety
When you find yourself getting tired or overwhelmed, remember to stop and take a deep breath. Focus on your breath and create a mini-meditation.
Nourish yourself with water and healthy food choices
Be present while eating lunch or taking a sip of tea or coffee. Create a moment of peace and relish in the moment.
Bring your mindfulness home with you
At the end of the work day, remember to be present while spending time with your family and friends.
Be “All-In” But Set Boundaries To Avoid Burn Out
“The right to disconnect”
France recently passed such a law. People find it hard to disengage without traditional work boundaries, especially with the influx of technology and ease of communication. Try turning off your phone and computer at night.
Schedule, don’t “list”
Schedule things you need to complete into your calendar. This helps you clearly identify your priorities.
You have a Life
As an entrepreneur, there are always going to be many interesting ideas and things to explore. Make sure to schedule personal time with family and friends.
Use the help of Apps
Rescue time This helps with time management by helping you understand your daily habits on the computer.
Siteblock For sites that you spend too much time on, and that hinder your productivity, why not block them completely? This app also shows you how many times you tried to access certain sites while they were blocked.
Create A Sacred Space For Your Work Environment
If you are working at home, make sure you have a designated space. A room that is separate from your bedroom or living room, and has a door, is best. Also, create a space with a nice view, or faux view, and set up objects that make you happy. Choose objects that remind you to stay focused and present. You have free reign to create a space that works for you!
Want to get out of the house completely? Join a co-working space. Choose a co-working space that provides the amenities (gym, café, meeting rooms, telephone booths, roof garden) that work for you and aid your work-life balance. Choose a space that feels good to you and has the décor that you prefer. There are many co-working spaces from which to choose.
Social isolation is a growing problem with the increase of dependence on technological devices and programs. Counter this by making sure to schedule Skype meetings, or by attending networking events. If you do not particularly like networking events, enjoy the natural networking that takes place at a co-working space. It has been proven that “water station talk” psychologically benefits people in the workplace.
Ask For Support
The power of speaking to people and feeling heard is extremely powerful. Sometimes in the professional environment, it isn’t always easy to convey your personal struggles.
Use an app such as Talk Space. This app provides virtual therapy, when and where you need it.
At PA&GO we provide flexible, virtual support and advice for all of your on-going start up and entrepreneurial needs. Speak to us about what is causing you stress and work with the team to find a way to delegate tasks which will make your daily routine more manageable.
It is important to craft a work-life fit that works for you. Managing this delicate balance is more of an art than a science and one that will continue to be tweaked. Focus on the positives and celebrate the times when you feel you had it right. At the end of the day, personal moments matter most in life and are as important as successfully growing your skills and making money in the workplace.
“Accept-then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” –Eckhart Tolle
Written by Alexandra Griffin, Operations Executive / Virtual Assistant PA&GO, New York