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The Search for the Perfect Work Life Balance

The Search for the Perfect Work Life Balance

When searching for a needle in a hay stack seems easier than finding a life outside of your career

Let me start by asking you a question, how many hours did you work last week? If you are struggling to answer because you can't easily calculate all those extra hours then you need to keep reading as like I did, you have got to a point where you need to start the search for a better work life balance.

I am going to begin by saying this post is less of a tutorial or a how to guide on how to find the perfect work life balance and more about my journey so far trying to achieve it. It all started with me thinking whether or not it really existed at all.

When did it all start?

That's a tricky question, as my quest for this ideal work life balance started when I began to realise my work had taken over and to be honest I needed a little help to realise that.

I think it was the moment that I lost all motivation for the long hours, when the achievement of my accomplishments after endless late nights didn't seem worth it any more. 

The Back Story

I have worked as a recruiter for years and I did honestly love most aspects of my job; seeing someone along their journey to their perfect career and being able to help them get there. 

I worked a lot, I was the type of person who struggled to switch off. I would work on my laptop usually up until the point of falling asleep, my home was my office, my car was the second office and not forgetting the actual office. My work was everywhere, but whilst I was passionate the hours didn't seem to matter.

Then I started a new job, a job where those types of hours weren't expected. I would get home by 5.30 and I started to realise it was possible to go for dinner with friends on a weeknight. I didn't know what to do with all my spare time; it was brilliant.

I saw people more, I enjoyed myself more and I was a lot happier. I hadn't even noticed I wasn't that happy beforehand but it was a great feeling nevertheless.

The Change

Like all big changes it felt like it hit overnight. The job that gave me so much freedom became busier and busier to the point where I was working those crazy hours all over again. But this time the hours took more of a toll on me; I couldn't find that passion that I once had to get me through the long days and the lack of free time.

I felt unappreciated and stuck in one place with no room for progression or development and for me that was a sinking feeling. The regular office moans spilled out into all aspects of my life, the job had taken over and I would have done anything to not be there.

If it's Broken, Fix it

I felt the job had broken me, I hated my job and I don't use that world lightly. My lack of motivation for my job blinded everything else and after months of everyone around me noticing it, I finally woke up and saw it myself. 

I plucked up the courage to leave my job vowing that I would never put my self back into that situation again. It was instant, the second I handed in my notice I start to feel the release and I knew I had made the right choice. 

First Stage

Now this isn't a finish article but I have started to find a better work life balance and it began by making time for me. There is now a work me and a personal life me and I am creating clear boundaries in-between. 

My aim is to go self employed, I have start with my blog and I am slowly working my way up to hopefully one day running my own business full time. I know it may seem like a strange career path as start your own business and having lots of personal time doesn't really go hand in hand but if you are passionate about something it is easier to make things happen.

A great quote I heard recently that sums up my current journey is “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion” by Simon Sinek. 

I couldn't have put in better myself, passion is the thing I was missing in my previous role and something I feel I have definitely regained in my new career.

It's a wonderful world

My Tips for Achieving a Better Work life Balance

  • Make time for yourself
  • Don't work excessive hours 
  • Have clear boundaries for working time and for your personal life
  • Don't bring work home - switch off the phone or laptop once the working day is over
  • Let yourself have time off and enjoy holidays, weekends and evenings
  • Be assertive and don't let any job take over your life
  • Rely on others to support you when you're overwhelmed at work instead of just working far too long.
  • Work smarter not harder. Don't just stay up all night working if there is an easier way to get things done
  • Remember the importance of a personal life. You won't remember your work accomplishments in later years as much as you will remember those missed events or parties.
  • Know that you can still love your job but need time off from it.

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