Running your own business can take its toll, leaving you frazzled and demotivated – especially when it eats into time for relaxing and having fun. So what’s the best way to achieve equilibrium? We asked our members for tips on how they juggle work, rest and play…
Healthy Work-Life Balance Tips
1. “Working in social work, we recognise how important it is to support good mental health and wellbeing for the whole team. We try to always have treats in the office (cake or biscuits usually!) so that after a difficult phone call or intense piece of work, we can take a breather and reward ourselves. There’s lots of flexibility to work from home, and there’s no real sense of hierarchy, we’re all just working together. You never feel like a cog in the corporate machine which instinctively makes you happier to be at work.”
Elena Jones, One Stop Social, Work.Life Manchester
2. “Most of the time I force myself to work just 11-4 Monday – Friday (with a 45 minute lunch break and stroll), as Parkinson’s Law shows that we often fill time with stuff that we don’t need to do. Write your work to-do list the day before, and do just the top two things first thing the next day when you start work, before checking work email. Also, taking my work to different locations (i.e. fun places around the world) helps to highlight what tasks I find fun or repetitive and mundane. If it’s the latter, figure out how to change the process.”
Fina Charleson, FC Productions, Work.Life Fitzrovia
3. “Most of us can’t escape the fact that our work requires us to sit at a computer most of the day, but limiting screen time outside of work can be a mammoth feat of self-discipline. A little hack to make it easier: set an automatic timer to switch off your home broadband at a set time. No more Netflix-fuelled sleep deprivation, and no work emails chasing you in your personal time.”
Dani Woods, Soma Restore, Work.Life Reading
4. “I’ve found that unless you treat your non-work stuff as seriously as your work stuff, you just never do it. For me the best thing is putting them in the diary like a work event, involving other people so it’s harder to pull out, and every so often making plans with a pen and a piece of paper to map out what you could be doing to balance your life more. It’s really easy to get swept up with the current of work as though work is Everything – and it’s just not, but forcing your lazy brain to remember what really makes you happy takes a bit of effort.”
Pete Gomori, Studio Gomori, Work.Life Camden
5. “I always have a small guitar in the office so I can switch between my business work and my community work, i.e. busking in town and raising money for some food for the homeless. I did four hours recently and raised £20.10 in Reading town centre.”
Pete Doyle, Social Retail Group, Work.Life Reading
6. “I used to work all hours of the day including weekends and well into the morning, sometimes going to bed at 3am to get a job done. Often having done the work I would find the client either wasn’t in the office to follow up or their urgent deadline had changed. So I made a very firm rule to leave the office at 6pm every day and not work weekends. Work can wait till tomorrow.
This is backed up in the book It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried: ‘If you stop thinking that you must change the world, you lift a tremendous burden off yourself and the people around you. The opportunity to do another good day’s work will come again tomorrow, even if you go home at a reasonable time.’
I sometimes feel anxious about this but the longer I leave it, by distracting myself with cooking, playing music or getting out into the country, away from computers and phones, the better I feel.
In The Shallows: How the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember by Nicholas Carr, he talks about how ‘… simple and brief interactions with nature can produce marked increases in cognitive control…’ and I believe that really helps.”
Dan Atrill, DJA Online, Work.Life London Fields
7. “My top tip is DISCIPLINE. I now aggressively organise my week via Google Calendar (down to the minute), adding in both work AND life activities.
At the start of the week, I schedule the work I need to get done as well as the exercise I need to do, any socialising, daily meditation etc. and then I try my best to stick to this plan. It means that I’ve proactively added in all of the important personal habits and activities that I need to keep my sanity. Before this, I would mindlessly live each week on autopilot, then try to fit in personal things at the last minute, or when I was on the verge of a breakdown.
It’s essentially a change of perspective – treating my ‘life’ activities with the same importance as my ‘work’ activities. It’s been pretty life-changing, actually.”
Jes Lee, Jes Lee Marketing, Work.Life London Fields
8. “My key tip is identify your priorities and then create a flexible routine. For example, list what you want to experience from your career, health, relationships, family etc. Then script allotted time daily and weekly for each area. A daily routine could look like this:
Career – 8 hours
Health – 1 hour
Relationships – 1 hour – this may be a coffee with your partner or friend
Family – 2 hours – this may be going to the park with your kids or having a meal with your parents
Once you have allotted times for each area you can create a routine/aim to make time every day for all these things.”
Louis Garner, Louis Garner Personal Training, Work.Life Reading
9. “Don’t make work your life. I try to spend at least two hours a day on productive hobbies such as writing, playing football or listening to a new album. Long walks also help keep my energy levels up.”
George Hamilton, Inquisitive Type, Work.Life Reading
10. “I’ve worked in Work.Life for over two years. Over these two years I’ve realised how important this type of space is. The Work.Life environment is all about community. Making friends as an adult can be challenging, especially if you’re starting your own company. We listen and help out any way we can, either by hosting regular events, such as beer and pizza Thursdays, varied workshops on how to better yourself and networking events for all types of industries. We pride ourselves on a very approachable working environment, we are more like a big family.”
Manuela Gomes, Membership Assistant, Work.Life
If you’d like to join a coworking space where healthy work-life balance is a core value, why not book a tour of a Work.Life space? We have coworking spaces in London, Reading and Manchester. All our workspaces are designed to help you achieve maximum productivity, while enjoying your time at work with social events including beer and pizza Thursdays, yoga, and wellness Wednesdays,, networking opportunities and free healthy snacks, tea and coffee day-in, day-out. Now that’s a healthy balance.