I know I’m a day late. I had a pretty busy weekend, and I was also a little lazy. Ben was out of town, so I managed to get some one-on-one time with friends I haven’t seen for a while. I capped it all off by spending Sunday night watching Beyonce’s and Jay Z’s On the Run tour with Ben instead of writing.
I felt a little bad because I really want to make my blog the best it can be, and I can only do that by giving it the time and attention that it needs.
On the other hand, I also want to make sure I spend my time enjoying the company of people that mean the most to me. Therefore, Ben and my mom, who I also talked to on Sunday, usually get my time if I have to choose between them and work.
But it can’t always be that way, right? Eventually I have to go to work or write or study, if I want to succeed in other parts of my life. I also tend to throw myself into work, so finding that balance between work and life has been a struggle for a while.
Luckily I’ve learned some techniques that have helped me get much better with the balancing act. Here are three tips that you can try if you have as hard of a time as I do:
1) Realizing True Balance Doesn’t Exists – There will always be time when I have to work more than I’m spending time with family or friends. And there will be times, like this weekend, where I choose to spend time relaxing rather than working. I don’t think there is ever going to be an even trade of time. It’s knowing how to compensate when one aspect of your life becomes too dominant. Spent the last couple weekends working on a big project? Make sure to leave work early for a few weeks and spend some quality times with your spouse or friends.
2) Say “Yes” when you might normally say no – I’ve stolen this concept from two of my friends that I admire tremendously. In order to enjoy their time with each other and their friends, they’ve made it a point to say “yes” to outings unless they have a really good reason not to. This was hard for me because I like things so structured and routine; saying “yes” to a random request would throw off my schedule. But I have tried it and really enjoyed the outcome. Normally I would never hang out and drink during a week night, but Ben, two friends and I have started a Thursday Scotch night to get together and hang out. It’s now something I look forward to.
3) Leave Your Work at Work: One of the worst parts of law school was I felt like I was studying all the time. I would wake up and study, go to class, then study, come back home, and then study. When I entered the working world, I made a concerted effort to leave my work at the office when I left. That means I don’t access my work email when I leave or do research that I would normally do for a client while I’m at home. There are rare exceptions where I have to practice an opening argument on Ben or review some tax returns. But those are few and far in between.
As I said above, I’m not an expert in striking an optimum work life balance. But I’ve definitely improved because of the three above approaches. Hopefully they can help you too.