Here’s a story to help provide clarity on the dilemma that faces us all
One day an old professor was hired to give training on effective time planning to a group of fifteen leaders of large companies. Standing in front of this elite group, the old professor looked at them and took an empty container and placed it in front of them. He then pulled out some large stones and proceeded to fill the empty container. Then he asked the leaders if the container was full. Every person in the room said “Yes” of course.
He replied “Really?” He then bent down and this time took a bag of sand from under the table. He then carefully poured the sand into the container, filling it right to the top. Then as before, he asked the same question “Is the container full?” This this time they all replied “Probably not”.
The old professor said that they were right. He then took a pitcher of water from under the table and slowly filled the container. Turning again to his audience, he asked “What great life truth is this experiment showing us?” The boldest student, thinking about what he had seen, replied: "This shows that even when we believe that our diary is completely full, if we really want it, we can add more appointments, and do even more."
"No No” replied the old teacher. " If you do not put the big pebbles first in the container, you will never get them all in. You all need to think what are the big pebbles in your life? Your work, your family, your friends, your health? Realize your dreams? Do what you like? Relax?“
What is important with the moral of this story is clearly putting your big pebbles first in your life and ensuring you succeed. Other less important items will get in the way and eat up your precious time that could be better spent on the important elements of your life. So, do not forget to ask yourself the right questions: "What are the MY BIG PEBBLES???" And make sure you put them first in your “Life Container”. "
Everyone's version of work life balance will be different as you can imagine. The important thing is to experiment and find out what works the best for you. Why? So that you can give your job and family the attention they deserve, without losing your sanity.
Here are 10 tips which could help you have a better work life balance
1. Manage your time
The first step to achieving a better work life balance is to take a piece of paper and write down what are your most important items / issues (your big pebbles). Then you can plan and structure your time to make sure those are always dealt with first before everything else.
2. Unplug yourself
Today, we all have mobile phones, tablets, laptops and PC’s meaning that even when we leave work at the end of the day we are still ‘connected’, those pesky “emails” and “texts” just never stop!!!
We are all only human after all and need to occasionally relax and unwind – Why not try turning your mobile off for the evening, don’t be tempted to power on that Laptop or Ipad… unplug yourself!
3. Work out
We all make time to go to the bathroom, sleep and eat but often forget to exercise. This doesn’t have to daily but make time for it. Walk the Dog, take a jog before work, grab an hour in the Gym – find something that works and not only will it help you destress but make you feel fitter.
4. Protect and schedule a “Me Time”
“Me time” should be just for you – Take a yoga class, get a massage, have a nice hot bath and just relax. Don’t think of this being waste of time, it’s important we all pamper ourselves every now and again.
5. Spend time with your Family
Your family is probably the most important thing in your life; make sure you make time for them.
6. Stop being a perfectionist
We all try to do things to the best of our ability but often get carried away in the minor details. If you’re spending too much time on something it may be time to ask yourself if it’s really worth all the time and extra effort.
7. Have a social life
Make time for you friends, get out there and not only during the week-end.
8. Work smarter
The “Mental Health Foundation counsel” advise us to “Work smart, not long”. Allow yourself a certain time per task and try not to get caught up in less productive activities.
9. Learn to say “No”
For some of us, it’s really hard to say that word. But it should be an important word for everything in your life. You can’t do everyone’s job, can you? You have to manage your time and priories your work. If your boss gives you a load of extra work and it’s just not physically possible, don’t be afraid to knock it back and say No!
10. Don’t forget your health
Try to keep your stress levels down, make sure you get enough sleep, and eat healthily. Work ‘burn out’ affects us all – Keep it in check!!