The term work-life balance is so overused these days it’s almost a cliché.
And it’s a bit of a misnomer, anyway. Because it suggests that it’s about achieving a level mix of life and work.
As you probably know from experience, life’s not like that. Or rarely. The norm is for the balance to be out of whack.
Just stop for a moment and consider how things are for you now. Does it feel like everything is in harmony?
You might be in the start-up phase as a VA and still finding your feet. You could be established and ticking along nicely, looking for the next level of growth in your business.
You might be super busy with work or business but feeling overwhelmed or plain fatigued. You may be wondering when you’ll ever get a holiday or time for a proper break from it all.
You might be juggling work and home, work and family or simply have your hands full with family and home life.
I always seem to be ‘on the go’ but do have time off to visit family each year. It’s rarely a 50-50 for life-work balance for me. I do find it hard to stop.
But I realised the other week that I do need to make sure I slow down a little – or build in some kind of break. Otherwise, I’ll just end up exhausted.
I’m probably not the best person to be giving this advice but do give yourself some self-care this week and in the months ahead. It’s been quite a year and we all deserve to reward and treat ourselves.
This is not me saying “Do as I do” (because I’m not the best at this kind of stuff) but it is me – woman, business owner, wife, mother, grandmother and human being – saying do what you need to do to look after yourself.
Whatever balance you need or is right for you at this time, do what’s required to give you that.
Here are some things to consider.
Make sure you get good sleep. There is plenty of research out there now to show that getting the right amount of hours rest at night is really important. It’s said that an adult should get between seven and nine hours’ sleep.
There is plenty of advice and lots of tips out there for enjoying a better night’s sleep. Having a routine, and not using your smartphone or tablet an hour before you close your eyes, is said to help.
It can be stressful combining work with family. If you can find a bit of time and space each day, or at least weekly, to unwind, that’s a good thing. It might be to read a book, listen to music or a podcast, go for a walk, meditate, do some mindfulness or even yoga.
This could be anything from yoga to tai chi, cycling to circuits, jogging to a gym workout, walking to running, ball sports to racket sports. Doing a bit every week is good for your physical and mental health.
It’s rarely 50-50 so this is more about being aware of where the balance is, so you can prepare, adapt and adjust. Keep an eye on your time. Note the hours you spend on work and business. Check to see if you’re making time for relaxation, exercise and fun.
Holidays and Breaks
When you have a job, your employer tells you how much holiday you have each year and may even remind you to take some. When you’re self-employed, you are the one who has to take charge.
It’s really easy to get sucked into working long days and long weeks. If you have a particularly busy week or month, that’s OK. It’s part of that balance. But if it’s a continuous thing you can end up tired, drained and exhausted.
One way to ensure you take a holiday and have a proper break is to schedule the dates in your calendar or diary first. That way the time is blocked off and you can let people know when you won’t be available.
Use Your Support Network
Another common feature of working for yourself is you can tend to think you have to do it all yourself. Or you try to figure it all out on your own.
Make use of the support around you. It might be family or friends. A coach or mentor. Or training to give you the confidence to be on top of systems, processes, software and apps.
Do what you need to do to give you the right balance you need right now. Do what you need to do to look after yourself. We’re not robots, we’re humans.
P.S. Naturally, if the support you need is getting to grips with any aspect of Microsoft 365 you can find my range of online
You can also book 1:1 training with me online. You can Learn with Shelley – One to one here.
Not forgetting Trainer in Your Pocket, the flexible membership subscription which gives you access to ask me any questions via email and up to 30 minutes of live training with me per month. I’m here if you need me.