What’s a Work/Life Balance?
A few weeks ago, I followed examples set by Bridget and Wendy, and gave you guys the opportunity to ask me anything. While Bridget and Wendy were both great about answering all the questions asked in a single post, I’m sort of using your questions as material for entire blog posts (so far, mostly on Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s site). Today, I want to answer Bridget’s question here, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
How do you separate “work time” from “free time” when you’re working from home? Do you have a schedule or a stopping point, or do you overdo it every day like me?
I’ve written about my daily routine (or what used to be my lack of a routine) a couple times before. After my car accident last summer, my schedule (along with my body) was so out of whack that I ended up having a panic attack. It was terrifying and exhausting, but an eye-opening experience nonetheless. I knew then that I needed to find a way to separate “work time” from “free time”, in order to avoid a repeated attack.
At the end of this month, I will officially have one year of working remotely under my belt – and it’s taken exactly that amount of time for me to find a work/life balance I am happy with. With that being said, I’ve seen a lot of those “day in the life” posts going around recently, and I thought about doing one of my own, until I realized it would look a little something like this:
6:30 a.m. – Wake up, stretch (or workout), shower, make coffee
7:00 a.m. – Open my laptop and start working
9:30 a.m. – Pack up and commute to my coworking space
12:30 p.m. – Take a short lunch break
4:00 p.m. – Finish up work and commute home
5:00 p.m. – Go for a walk (as long as it’s not pouring rain)
6:00 p.m. – Make dinner, do dishes, clean the kitchen, etc.
7:00 p.m. - Watch a show, write a blog post, work on other side projects, etc.
10:30 p.m. – Read in bed before falling asleep
It’s basically the exact routine I mapped out for myself after my panic attack, which means I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. So, to answer Bridget’s question, I try to stick to a schedule! I always start work at 7:00 a.m., and I try to finish up around 4:00 p.m. And to stop myself from “overdoing it”, I choose 3 tasks from my never-ending to-do list each morning and make it a goal to get those things done. If I can do more, great! But if I only get those 3 things done, then I can close my laptop at 4:00 p.m. and call it a day.
Now, the one thing you’ll notice in my M-F schedule is that it’s full of work (including my blog and side projects) and not a lot of “life” – but to me, this is life. I mentioned it briefly a couple weeks ago, but my career is my top priority right now. I’m not trying to climb a corporate ladder or anything like that… I just want to take every opportunity that comes my way and make the most of them, to see where it all leads me.
Beyond my position at RateHub.ca, this blog has opened a number of doors and helped me build some incredible connections. There are so many passion projects I want to start, as a result, and none of them will come to life unless I make the time for them – now. So, I’ll continue to work hard Monday through Friday, then take time on the weekends to relax and see friends… or just curl up on the couch and binge-watch a new show for two days (no judging!).
What’s your ideal work/life balance?