Careers: Getting THAT Work-Life Balance

This is it, my biggest bone of contention. I love the career I’ve chosen for myself, but I hate that I’m pretty much going to be a slave to it for the next few years. I’ll be working full-time and pushing through some of the hardest exams there are (whoop for 30% pass rates!), I’ll be completing 3-years of work based skills and hopefully I’ll have qualified by the time I am thirty

 photo Life vs Work_zpsy46vepz5.pngI’ve actually been working over the last 13 months, doing an extended internship as part of my degree – I’ve loved it, I’ve worked with some amazing people, and with just four working days left to go I’m tearing up as I type. It’s not been easy, far from it. The job is technical, there’s complicated mathsy stuff, lots of learn, legalities to take care of, and then there’s working 9-5. I thought my work ethic was good at university but nothing prepared me for a full working day. For the first few weeks I was constantly exhausted and relied far too much on One Pan Mac’n’Cheese. As with everything though, finding the balance is key. It took me a while, but I eventually got there!

It was the struggle to get the balance right that led me to be totally interested in the Work Life Balance Quiz compiled by Simply Health. I did this honestly, but wasn’t at all surprised by the results – as expected I’m a “Volleyer.” Good at prioritising, I’ll switch from integrating and separating work and fun stuff, depending on what the situation calls for.

So, what’s the key for balancing my life? Well…

 photo 4fb9dacd-00b9-4020-ab50-d1deb97658db_zpsb7644b64.jpg photo 2015-01-10 20.09.54_zpsyk0ey3wo.jpgPrep and Plan Meals. I mentioned that I survived for far too long on easy, stodgy meals when I first started work, and not only did that make me feel pretty bloated and lethargic, it also didn’t help with some sneaky weight gain. Far better is to spend a little while at the weekend working out what meals to have. I’ll plan when I’m likely to have to work late, when I’ve got anything planned socially, and what I fancy eating. I’ll even do bits like chopping veg in advance – and obviously batch-cooking and freezing meals is a great little tip too.

Plan Evenings Off. A busy social life is great. Spending all evening typing away at blog posts makes me feel super-organised. At the end of the day, everyone needs some down time, and so I try to plan evenings when I don’t do anything but read, paint my nails, and think.

Have Me Time. Failing whole evenings off, just plan a bit of you time into every day. I like to sit in the park and read at lunch – even if it’s only for ten minutes when I’m really busy. I like to sit in bed each morning with a cup of tea. I like to read a few chapters of my latest book before bed.

Don’t Bring Work Home. I’m lucky in that company policy when I started dictated that I didn’t receive a laptop – so I couldn’t physically bring work home. I know if I did I’d always be tempted to do a little here, a little there, and I’d never fully switch off. Obviously I know its not always practical, but my aim is to try and keep my job limited to working hours as much as possible – whilst still getting everything done.

 photo 2014-09-24175026_zps64eef189.jpgWork Smart. When you are working, work. No checking twitter (guilty), emails (guilty) or texting the boyfriend (double guilty). If you work smartly you’ll get tasks completed quicker, leaving more free time. To-Do lists are something I rely on hugely – I couldn’t live without carrying my Filofax around with me!

Cut out Perfectionist Tendencies. I’m a huge perfectionist, I hate having uncompleted work or making errors. I’ll constantly check my work for mistakes, I’ll take on more and more responsibility in projects to retain control, and none of this is particularly healthy. Sometimes you need to accept that things do go wrong. By all means do everything to the best of your ability, but don’t stress over it.

Enjoy It. Above all, enjoy what you do. Enjoy your job, enjoy your life out of work. If not, the balance is clearly off!

Disclaimer: I was invited to take the quiz and share the results, however this is not a sponsored post and no money exchanged hands. And as ever, all opinions are my own!

How do you make sure you have the right work-life balance? What kind of a worker are you?

  • Really great post, I was particularly interested by the bit where you said you found working 9-5 harder than uni. Do you mean because at uni if you were ‘in’ all day it wouldn’t be constant 9-5 work like a job is, but rather, split up with lectures/library time etc? Is that what you mean?

    I graduated 7 years ago but am going back to uni next month (ahh!!) and am curious as to how i’ll find it compared with working full-time! x

    Amy at amynmore.co.uk

    • ninegrandstudent

      I think it was working full on for 9-5, staring at a screen more, and the really fast-paced learning my job involved. I wonder if I’ll feel different when I get back to university next month?! x

  • Siobhan Rothwell

    I know the mac and cheese wasn’t a good choice, but that picture of it is heavenly. How the cheese is sat there about to melt… and now I’m hungry. Great tips though! Especially to not bring work home. Something that is very easy to do

    x
    http://www.siobhanrothwell.wordpress.com

    • ninegrandstudent

      To be fair, that picture is my slightly ‘healthy’ mac’n’cheese so it’s not all bad! x

  • Love these tips! I really need to stop bringing work home with me, it’s taking up way too much time x

    Everything But The Kitchen Sink

    • ninegrandstudent

      I’m the same, I just can’t help it! x

  • Jennifer K

    I did the quiz (although based on my uni working life rather than an actual job) and found that I didn’t really fit any particular style! I’d like to think though that my work life balance is healthy – I’m very conscious of not overdoing it and have no problem with factoring in some time off without affecting my work.

    Jennifer x

    Ginevrella | Lifestyle

    • ninegrandstudent

      Sounds like you have the perfect balance! x

  • John Fazackerley

    As an employer of new graduates for many years (and too old to remember what it was like myself), the vast majority said the the transition to full time work from uni was a big shock to the system. So you are not alone in this.

  • Sounds like you’re aiming towards a great balance and your post has also made me very hungry!!

    • ninegrandstudent

      Oops, sorry! x