If you work in the voluntary sector in whatever capacity you may have something in common with many self-employed and small business owners. Poor work life balance.
Your personality strengths such as kindness, helpfulness, conscientiousness, enthusiasm or a strong sense of responsibility are an asset to any voluntary organisation, however if you are not mindful can have a flipside by affecting your ability to ‘switch off’ from work and ‘switch on’ to looking after yourself.
Perfectionism for example can be helpful in situations where attention to detail is essential or tasks which require a high degree of accuracy. Day to day a perfectionist may expend unnecessary time and energy checking and re-checking routine tasks possibly leading to extended working days, falling behind with tasks and becoming anxious. The antidote to this desire to be perfect is to learn that ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’ and put this new perspective into action.
If you are unhappy with your WLB then your job first and foremost is to take care of your own needs, so that you are even more effective in the help that you give to others. Be happy in your own life and you will be an inspiration to your friends, family, colleagues and clients and be more effective all round.
All of our circumstances are different however signs of a poor WLB might include being overbooked, feeling you never have enough time, poor diet, being out of shape or overweight, feeling disconnected and/or not spending time with family and friends, a messy and disorganised home or work space and sleeping badly due to over-thinking or worrying about work.
Here are my 5 tips to get you started if you feel a sense of imbalance between your work and home life.
1. Make one small change. Small changes can make a big difference. Try something new. Go for a walk instead of watching TV. Plan a healthy menu routine and shop by list rather than impulse buy. Do something different such as fly a kite or something you enjoyed in your childhood. What knock-on effects did you notice? What did you learn? Do you feel happier?
2. If you spend lots of time on Facebook or other social media, turn it off for the day or for the weekend. What was that experience like? Don’t check work emails in your non-work time.
3. Take an honest look at your strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps with the help of a close friend or a coach or by using self help books or online tests. How can you use your skills and natural strengths to the full? How can you compensate for your weaknesses? New learning perhaps or delegation or saying ‘no’ to tasks which someone else does better? Practice saying ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’ and ‘yes when you mean ‘yes’ Don’t say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’
4. Slow down and discover that you will become more effective. Stop trying to get everything done but rather focus on what’s important and prioritise.
5. Maybe its time to give yourself a pat on the back? Look at all the things you have achieved? You have made and continue to make a real difference and by looking after yourself and your work life balance you will be able to do even more.