Since starting a new job in September 2020, work life balance is something that I have been thinking about a lot. Maintaining a strong work life balance is important to me, and it what constitutes a strong work life balance will be different for different people. In particular, the last 18 months have changed the way a lot of people view work life balance. In this blog post I will talk about what helps me maintain a strong work life balance.
I try to sleep and wake up at a fairly consistent time
This is probably the most underrated aspect that helps me maintain a good work life balance. I would say on average, on weekdays I sleep from 11pm to 7am, and on weekends I sleep from 12am to 8:30am. Obviously there will be certain weekdays or weekends that differ from these times but I aim not to have too many days that deviate widely. I find that waking up and sleeping at consistent times give me more structure and certainty to my days compared to if I slept and woke up at completely different times each days. Note that my sleeping and waking up times at weekdays are because I work from Monday to Friday, but having that consistency in sleeping and waking up times on those days helps me get in a good rhythm.
I try to spread out my social plans when I can to avoid burnout
I recently wrote a post on autism and the social battery which can be found here. The social battery is something that definitely applies to me, and I do feel that my social battery can drain very quickly if I have too many social plans in a short space of time. Therefore, I try to spread out my social plans as much as I can wherever this is possible, so that I have enough time to rest in between. For me, rest is an integral part of a work life balance therefore spreading out my social plans helps with work life balance. Note that this is not completely in my control, as social commitments with family and work are usually not planned by me and hence it is possible to have several of these plans in a short space of time. However, with social plans that I have more control in organising, I try to spread them out as much as possible.
I make time to do the things I enjoy
This is something a lot of people to do to help their work life balance as well as wellbeing, and I am no different. I wouldn’t say I am someone that lives life at 100 miles an hour but my schedule does usually get very busy. Whilst there are times where I can’t do much to prevent my schedule being busy, I do try my best to include time to do things that I enjoy. This could include things that contribute to my busy schedule such as social plans, or things that are away from my busy schedule such as Sudoku. Either way, feeling that I have things that I enjoy that I can look forward to helps my work life balance, as then it doesn’t feel that my life revolves around work.
I go in to the office as much as I can
I know a lot of people have tried to split their home working and office time in a way that helps their work life balance, and that will be different for different people. For me the more I go in to the office the more it helps my work life balance. Upon reflection, I think there are two main reasons that explain this. Firstly, being in the office gives me a clear separation between home life and working life. I tend to find that my brain wants home life to stay at home and work life to stay in the office, and working from home disrupts this. Therefore, being in the office means it is easier for me to create those boundaries that help my work life balance. Secondly, being in the office gives me more face to face interaction with people from work, and people that know me know that this is something I value a lot. In a way, face to face interaction in the office gives me a work life balance inside my working hours, as it makes the working day a lot more fun compared to staring at a screen all day and not talking to anyone.