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Home » Blog » The Importance of Achieving a Work-Life Balance

The Importance of Achieving a Work-Life Balance

Post 7 – Working Mum Mini-Series

I’ve spoken recently about personally finding a work-life balance moving forward. But for this article, I’m interested in exploring why people go to work every day.

What motivates you to apply for a job? Have an early night to meet your 6 am alarm? Travel for an hour to get to work each day? Start a business and work for yourself.

I was surprised to learn it’s not always money motivating an individual to go to work each day. Let’s explore some of the motivations.

work-life balance

Money 

Some people are motivated by money and this is completely okay. It depends on your personality. There is no avoiding the fact we all need money to live, especially now, in a cost-of-living crisis. However, money doesn’t have to be the main motivation for the role you currently do.

I’ve taken a pay cut twice before. Once in the past to cut down on traveling time and recently to avoid stress and burnout.

Motivation 

Chill-out days are an essential part of a self-care routine, but ever felt more tired from doing nothing? Being busy inspires a sense of motivation to keep going and get more done.

It’s about finding a healthy balance between the two.

Sense of achievement 

We all love doing a great job. That sense of satisfaction when you cross things off your to-do list or clean the house from top to bottom. Maybe you declutter and sell things on a second-hand marketplace? Work from home and get through a lot in one sitting, with no distractions.

Whatever ‘sense of achievement’ means to you. Doing this regularly is great for well-being.

Sense of belonging 

During the pandemic, we all missed contact with our work employees. It allowed us to appreciate the interaction we have with other people daily. Socialising can be an important part of someone’s work life. y enjoy having one day a week in the office.

Helping other people

In setting up my blogs, the main motivation was to help people. The reality is, it’s taken me a long time to make any money at all. There was always more than just this motivation pushing me along. If one or all three of my blogs never made money, I would still be satisfied that I had helped other people out there.

I’ve also volunteered my time in the past and organized charity events. None of which provided a financial reward. But to me, the reward of helping other people was much more satisfying.

The all-important work-life balance

I would say, a work-life balance has to be individual to the person in question. When I was single and living alone, I enjoyed my fast-paced, high-stress career. I also had free time to socialize with my work colleagues and immerse myself in the full “career” experience. Inevitably when you have a child, your priorities change. My perfect work-life balance is now about pursuing a fairly challenging role but also having time to spend at home with my little girl.

Mental health

Ultimately, from a mental health perspective, we should all be aiming for the below:

  • Meeting your deadlines at work while still having time for friends and hobbies
  • Having enough time to sleep properly and eat well
  • Not worrying about work when you’re at home

I will be honest and say that during the height of my financial career, I didn’t have many periods when these were consistently done. I learned the hard way how important it is to look after yourself.

Tips on managing work stress

Pause. Ask yourself: what’s currently causing me stress or unhappiness? How is that affecting my work and personal life? What am I prioritising? What am I losing out on? We often don’t take the time to reflect on work until there’s a major life event such as the birth of a child or the loss of someone close to us. But just pausing and thinking about your priorities can help you discover whether the way you’re living and working is right for you.

Pay attention to your feelings. Now you’re more aware of your current situation, how does it make you feel? Are you fulfilled and happy, or angry and resentful? Being aware of your feelings can help you decide which changes you want to make.

Reprioritise. Think about what needs to change. For example, you might want to ask yourself if working long hours is worth losing out on family time, or whether working weekends is worth losing out on your social life.

Consider your alternatives. Is there anything at work you can change to meet your new priorities?

Make changes. Maybe that’s asking for flexible hours, making sure you use all your annual leave or not checking your emails at the weekend, for example.   

mentalhealth.org.uk

Value yourself and your time

I am personally thankful to be in a much better place mentally. Which may result in me taking on more responsibilities. But only because I work for a supportive company and there are boundaries.

Due to a lack of self-confidence and anxiety issues, it never occurred to me before to say no. I was a bit of a people pleaser and spent far too much time at work. Yes, I was rewarded financially. But this never made me happy. I had to spend that money to destress and surely that defeats the purpose. It certainly isn’t what I would call a work-life balance.

Until next time

I would like the takeaway from this post to be the following:

Realize that your time and energy are precious

Make sure the role you are applying for is suitable for your needs

Do you want to be associated with or work for a company with specific values

What would be a deal breaker and result in you saying no to a job offer?

Could you see yourself happy in this role?

Do you have any tips on achieving a work-life balance?

Have you taken a pay cut before to favor your happiness?

Let me know in the comments below.

work-life balance
WORKING MUM

10 Comments

  1. September 8, 2022 / 7:17 am

    I really needed this post today – I’m finding that I’m getting absorbed by work and then the pendulum swings too far the other way. Thank you for helping me pause and reevaluate

    • September 10, 2022 / 11:24 pm

      I am sorry to hear you’re feeling this way. But glad the post helped x

  2. September 9, 2022 / 10:51 am

    This is a really helpful and useful blog post to help create balance in your life. Learning the value of your time and effort is so important. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren.

    • September 10, 2022 / 11:24 pm

      It took me many years to learn, but it is so important and life is a lot happier now.

  3. September 22, 2022 / 7:29 am

    This was such a good read – our time and energy ARE so precious and it’s good to be reminded of that so thank you 🙂

    • September 22, 2022 / 10:34 am

      Thank you for the lovely comment. I am happy to provide the reminder. I sometimes need to remind myself.

  4. September 22, 2022 / 2:00 pm

    Self worth and mental health is so important! I think most people need to spend more time working on it.

    • September 24, 2022 / 9:27 pm

      It is easy to forget we need to spend time on it, but so essential to our wellbeing.

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