I feel like it isn’t very easy to achieve true balance in your life. Not for me, probably not for you, and not for anyone. And when it comes to productivity and work life balance, I feel that there are two extremes of the spectrum. On one side you have the overachievers and on the other side, you have the procrastinators and self-saboteurs. That’s why in this blog post, I’m sharing key tips for a great work life balance, for both sides of the productivity spectrum.
Work life balance for recovering over-achievers
If you have already read some of my previous blog posts, you can probably already guess on which side of the spectrum I find myself.
What I used to think and believe, was that having balance in our lives isn’t necessarily something good.
Why work out only 3 times a week, when you could go all-in and do it 6 times a week?
Why work periods of 30 minutes, when I can go on for 3 hours without a break?
Why wake up at 8 am and start your day well-rested when you can wake up at 5 am super tired but get so much stuff done?
I used to think that resting and needing breaks all the time, was basically for people who don’t have discipline and perseverance.
I thought that in order to fully experience life and to really get the most out of our day, we had to work hard and play hard.
I believed that in order to be successful in your business, by default you need to sacrifice some areas of your life, and that sleep and relaxation time should be the first to be sacrificed when it gets hectic.
And so, I always saw myself as a super disciplined and perseverant person, but in the end, I never was able to keep up with my extreme habits for more than a month.
When I wanted to eat healthier, I thought it was lame to just add a few more salads to my diet, and would go on a strict soup diet or raw vegan diet for a whole month.
But in the end, I could never keep up with it for more than a few weeks and would then just return to old habits.
So lately, I have been experimenting with balance and I have to say it has been interesting.
It’s definitely difficult for me to set low expectations and to set “normal” habits since they aren’t as intense and challenging as I’m used to.
But I find that I’m keeping up with my habits for a much longer period of time because they are actually realistic and sustainable.
I don’t get this yo-yo effect anymore (alternating between not doing the habit at all for weeks and then starting again super intensively).
Some tips for work life balance as recovering over-achievers (that I’m trying to apply as well)
- Setting realistic to-do lists (ideally a maximum of three goals every day)
- Setting an alarm for when your working day ends and don’t open your laptop or mailbox anymore after these hours
- Introducing more spontaneity into your life and business: give yourself the permission to change things up and do what you feel most inspired to do
- Introducing the 80/20 rule into your life to obtain more balance: 80% of the time you try to focus on your goals, and 20% of the time you can skip it guilt-free. For example, eating healthy 80% of the time, and eating a bit more unhealthy the other 20% of the time. This 20% is necessary to find the motivation and the willpower to consistently keep up with the 80%.
- Listening to your body. When you feel it is exhausted, give it the rest it needs.
What about recovering procrastinators?
On the other end of the spectrum is the kind of people that struggle with procrastination, perfectionism, self-sabotage, or a combination of these.
If you’re on this side of the spectrum, getting started on things you have to get done might be a bit more difficult for you.
If you resonate with the below, you might find yourself on this side of the spectrum:
- There are 1001 things that you would rather get distracted than do the actual work.
- You tend to feel overwhelmed easily and when you do, you would do anything to just be able to cancel everything and just burrito yourself in a blanket.
- You will postpone doing tasks until the very last moment, and only at the very last minute, you get super productive and finish the project right on time
- You need a whole ritual to prepare yourself mentally before you feel ready to actually take action and when it doesn’t necessarily go as you wanted, you feel stuck.
- You have to basically bribe yourself to get your ass to your desk and start working
This behavior definitely isn’t balanced and sustainable either.
Some tips for recovering procrastinators:
- Of course, it’s important to listen to your body and when you don’t feel good, then it’s obviously okay to rest. But try to pay attention and identify those moments that you are self-sabotaging.
- Try to tackle only one simple task at a time, so you don’t feel overwhelm and paralyzed
- Identify the hidden payoff when you procrastinate. What’s your reward for not doing that thing that you are supposed to do?
- I know it sounds easier said than done, but count to 5, stand up and just do it. The more we overthink that thing we need to do, the bigger it seems to become, and the less motivation we feel to take action. And in most cases, it’s definitely not as bad as we thought.
- Set mini goals. Set goals so ridiculously small that you won’t feel any resistance to taking action. Working only 5 minutes on this project, and in most cases, you will end up doing way more than you had planned. It just gets you started
Balance is so important, and will always be the most sustainable solution. It doesn’t matter who you are and what your biz is like, embracing balance, whether you are a procrastinator or an overachiever, will help you a lot in the long term.
I hope that these tips for work life balance were helpful.
Let me know in the comments down below what tips for a healthy work life balance you have.
A really important topic and well written! Thanks for sharing!
Great tips! Very helpful!
This hit home for me because I’m guilty of doing the same thing. I need to work on being more balanced rather than doing all or nothing.
Wow, such a wonderful article and SO timely for me. I’m a music teacher and the Christmas season gets so busy for me. It’s really easy for me to overwork and not take that time for myself during this time of year. Thank you so much for these reminders!
Very important! Something I def need to work on ! thanks for reminder x
You’re so right, it definitely isn’t easy to find balance! I just got a new job and I feel so overwhelmed… But you just have to listen to yourself and your body and know what is too much. It’s best to prioritize what really matters and not spend too much time on the rest!
I am to the point with my job where I realize the unhealthy boundaries I have and I am making changes to fix that.
Great tips! I am going to apply few this week x
I needed the post in my life:). Great advice! Love your story and mission!