Q: How do you achieve work/life balance
As someone who travels weekly for work, there is no work life balance. It cannot add up. There can never be perfect balance if you measure the amount of time spent at work/on the road and at home. Some weeks it kills me, some weeks I love the travel, but I always wish I was at home. I am a homebody with a travel job.
So, screw work/life balance. In a recent talk at work, we focused on how to achieve work/life satisfaction. Aiming for a goal of work/life balance when it’s just not possible can be disappointing, but if you aim to be satisfied with the imbalance you have, it is actually achievable. Try it. Let me know what you think!
Recognizing that I don’t have a balance, this is how I achieve my satisfaction when I’m on the road.
- Prioritize me-time – When I am done with work for the day, I always go back to my room to decompress. Whether it’s going for a walk, reading, catching up on quick blogging, or watching some TV, I need to get away from my co-workers. I will usually have dinner with them or go out in the evening, but cannot spend every minute of the day with them. Taking some time away allows me to separate from work and makes me feel more at home in a different city.
- Make time for exercise – I have to make getting in some exercise a major priority, or the excuses pile up and it doesn’t happen. I try to schedule classes in advance or make it easy to fit in a run by putting it on my calendar. Setting the goal, packing all the essentials, and reminding myself I will always be glad I exercised is usually the motivation I need. See more on this, here.
- Be organized about life things – Planning calms me. I have a Moleskine in which I keep my “life” appointments and to-dos. Having it separate from the Outlook overload that I have on my computer is critical. I am a visual person, so seeing everything on paper helps me to picture when I can fit things in. When I am home, I have to schedule haircuts, doctors appointments, workout classes, and time with friends. Having a plan for everything I want to do at home or need to remember to do when traveling keeps the wheels on this bus.
- Savor the weekends – Since I am gone all week, weekends are my times to get things done, feel rested and centered, and spend time with my fiancé and friends. While being hungover on a Saturday means that Friday was usually fun, it can almost guarantee I will start the week off on the wrong foot. I have gotten very protective of my weekends, and I am totally fine with that.
- Remove work distractions from life – I know this isn’t achievable for everyone, but I do not have my work email go automatically to my phone. If I need it when I am traveling or stuck without my computer, I can get it, but if I am unplugged, I unplug. Because of this, I do the best I can to get things done at work before heading home or to the hotel, so that I can truly separate my time.
So that’s how I try to achieve work life satisfaction. It’s not always perfect, but it is better than pretending I can make it a balance. If you want to read more about this Road Warrior Life, check out the Road Warrior Files. Do you travel for work? How do you make it work?
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