Career Clinic: How To Strike A Work-Life Balance

Been burning the candle at both ends? Here's how to get the balance back.

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You’ve been working late, dining al desko at lunch and popping into the office on weekends, which is great, except you haven’t seen your bestie in weeks, your boyf is feeling a tad neglected and you can’t remember the last time you put your feet up and did absolutely nothing. Oh yeah, and you’re mega stressed out. Sounds like your work-life balance is out of whack. We spoke to Paula Coogan, careers coach at My Quarter Life Coach to find out how to deal.

“Really what we’re looking at when we talk about work-life balance is energy management,” explains Paula. “That means, making sure we have the energy to be productive, engaged and enjoy the various different elements of our lives. Our minds and bodies can only handle so much work and pressure, and though we may love what we do, if our work becomes our life, we will eventually burn out mentally, or even burn bridges with the people we care about.”

You need to actively manage your energies to achieve balance in your life

But Paula has a simple equation to nix this. “The percentage of your wellness equals the percentage of your success in life,” she explains. “You can’t operate at 100% if you’re only running at 40%, so you need to actively manage your energies to achieve balance in your life.”

The first step is to work out your priorities. “Think of five areas in your life that are important to you,” says Paula. “These could be your personal goals or career goals for example. Whatever they are, figure it out and write them down.”

Once you’ve done that you should track your time. “Jot down what has been in your diary for the past week,” recommends Paula. “Is what you’re doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? For most people the answer is no, and what they’re really doing on a day to day basis isn’t really connected with their longer term plans. So, be mindful of what you discover from this exercise and make some changes,” she advises.

We need to spend time renewing and restoring our energy so that we can have balance

Most importantly though, you need to actively replenish your energy. “We need to spend time renewing and restoring our energy so that we can have that balance,” Paula explains. “When your energy is high, you can accomplish so much more.” Among Paula’s list of energy-renewing activities? Reading, writing, traveling, exploring, baking, listening to music and spending quality time with people you care about.

“If your energy is replenished, it has a positive knock on effect on our entire lives and the balance we feel within ourselves,” says Paula. “You’ll feel more positive, confident and stronger.” That sounds pretty good to us.


Pic credit: River Island