The elusive work-life balance: what can be done?

The elusive work-life balance: what can be done?

For many of us, juggling a busy career, with a family and personal life can be a real juggling act. Times have are uncertain too, and so it can feel like you need to be working harder than ever at your job, just to make sure that you keep it. Add in the everyday life things that you need to be doing too, and it can be a real juggling act. Not to mention a stressful one!

If you are someone that does like to work hard and give everything to your work, then getting a good life and work balance can be really tricky. We are living in a ‘do more with less’ work attitude, so things can be trickier, and busier, than ever. How is it possible to manage both aspects and still feel that we’ve been doing a good job? Here are some ideas for you.

Learn to Prioritize

Learning to prioritize can be a real struggle. We may feel that something is more important to be done, but in reality, there are other pressing issues or deadlines to be met. But when we can learn how to manage what we have to do, and what is the most important thing at that time or on that day, then it will make a difference. We can’t get all things done, all of the time.

Consider a New Career

If you wanted to throw something completely new into the mix, then how about changing careers to something more flexible? With the digital nomad lifestyle getting bigger and bigger, not to mention flexible working, how we are working is changing. And if your employer isn’t on-board, then it could be time to jump ship. You could do anything from setting up as a consultant solicitor, to working as a travel writer, or starting a small business of your own. There are plenty of opportunities that will help you to have a better work and life balance if that is what you are looking for as a main priority from your career. 

Learn to Say No

When you are already busy, you can just be adding to your workload if you have more and more to get done. So learn to say no. It might sound silly, but it is easier said than done. If you’ve got children, then there may be demands from their school or things like the PTA; learn to say no. If it doesn’t work for you at that time, that week, or that month, then simply say no.


Forget FOMO

FOMO, or fear of missing out if you’re not down with the kids, is all about being too busy, not being able to say no, because you’re worried that you’re going to miss something. But whatever it is, a colleague’s leaving party or your child’s dance recital, you can’t be at everything. Try to make things when you can, but don’t send yourself to an early stress-filled grave just because you try to do too much.

When you can make some changes, or learn some new skills, it can help you manage your time in a much better way. You’ll be able to enjoy your work time and your free time much more easily.

*Photo by Sarah Cervantes 


Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".


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