How to create a healthy work-life balance in 2019
The new year is the perfect opportunity to start afresh and cultivate a healthy life-work balance. Lydia Mormen asks some established industry leaders to share their secrets.
1. Use technology wisely
When it comes to creating a healthy life-work balance, technology can often be seen as the enemy, stealing time away from already hectic schedules. “It sounds counterintuitive, especially when working with an industry that encourages our customers to disconnect, but maximising the use of technology to stay connected and share information is essential,” says Jamie Pagan, spa director at The Grove, London.
“Everything has its place as long as it is managed to your benefit and in a way that helps others too. All my family events are shared weekly on a digitial calendar, along with a daily to-do list. Having a plan and sharing responsibilities allows for more focus at work, while not losing sight of family priorities. “Music is also a big part of my enjoyment of life. I use it to help my productivity by matching the tempo or style to the urgency and complexity of each task, whether I am in an airport lounge, hotel room or open-plan office. It can help to motivate me or let me unwind.”
2. Always put family first
Keeping an eye on your priorities is fundamental to succesfully achieving a healthy life-work balance. Once you have a family-first attitude, it becomes easier to prioritise things in terms of importance. Session nail tech Cherrie Snow knows all too well the pressures that can arise when working for yourself. “As a freelancer, it can be so difficult to turn down jobs. I’ve worked on my own birthday, missed my daughter’s birthday lunch and agreed to work on my 10th wedding anniversary,” she says.
“Recently, I have had to be more disciplined. If I have to turn down a job because I am on holiday or it’s my daughters prom, I won’t dwell on it because ultimately family is more important. Try to book in quality time. I have a huge family and we regularly plan walks where one couple will organise a route with breakfast and lunch or dinner along the way. It’s a great way to catch up with everyone, breathe in the fresh air and get some exercise.”
3. Form good habits
Having a healthy life-work balance takes continuous evaluation. “There are definite aspects of my work that need to be re-examined when a sense of overwhelm or lack of control start to take over,” says owner of NKD Waxing Rebecca Dowdesdell.
“Being disciplined is the number-one trait required to achieve a healthy life-work balance. Getting a grip on what you should be spending your time doing versus what you actually end up doing will help to make sure your time is being used wisely, so that you’re free to also do things you enjoy. Creating a routine that works for you means you’ll stick to it. If I know that Tuesday is yoga night and Friday I only work between 10am and 2pm, then I can properly switch off because I have a clear distinction between work time and personal time.”
4. Build a strong team
When running a succesful business, it can be easy to try to carry the day-to-day strain on your own shoulders and forget that working as part of a team can make your life a lot easier. “Teach a team of leaders below you the skills that are required and delegate tasks to them,” says Michelle Shergill, owner of Saks West Bridgford in Nottingham.
“We are in an industry where community is so important, so let your team be part of your business community by giving them responsibilities. Your therapists will have different ways of doing things to you and perhaps the knowledge to do them better, so use them and trust them. It’s very easy to make yourself busy with tasks that you could delegate to your staff. Being productive with the right things is far more important when you are wanting to achieve serious results in your business.”
5. Don’t be too harsh on yourself
Naturally, there will be times when it feels like your work-life balance is off kilter. The important thing is to be able to recognise this happening and take the appropriate steps to getting it back on track, instead of beating yourself up for spending too much time in the office. “About 10 years ago, I realised that my constant strive for balance was causing me to become my harshest critic so I had to discover a way of moving forward without letting it get me down,” says Tracey Woodward, chief executive of Aromatherapy Associates.
“In order to succeed, you have to be an athlete in your own life. We have to look after our nutrition, sleep and fitness, and tell ourselves that we can and we will. Introducing little things into your day-to-day routine can make all the difference, such as keeping a cosmic shopping list of your goals or walking a little more each day. No one ever died by trying to be a better version of themselves and as I always tell my kids, the race should only be with yourself, just like an athlete.”