I’ve spoken before about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I’d like to revisit the topic again as recently I’ve been reminded of what happens when things fall out of equilibrium, writes Business Owner and Personal Training Expert, James Anderson.
A few months ago I chose to start working seven days a week. It wasn’t because I needed the money, it was simply because I was really loving training and wanted to be able to offer more flexibility to my clients. As you can imagine, this immediately increased client satisfaction.
However, as the weeks passed I became less and less motivated in sessions. I became tired, grumpy and would get frustrated with clients for even the smallest of indiscretions. Let’s just say that whatever satisfaction that I had attained from clients in those few weeks had quickly turned into dissatisfaction and avoidance.
And then I got sick. I’m talking sick-sick – probably the worst “man flu” in history kind of sick. This was my bodies way of telling me that I had pushed it too hard and it was time for me to slow down. So I did. You see although we may believe that if doing something is good, then more must be better, right? Well, it’s not.
Think of it like exercise - although the goal of exercise is to become stronger, the exercise itself actually makes you weaker. It’s what happens during the recovery which makes you stronger - that’s where the magic is.
You can’t expect to continually draw energy from your body without ever giving something back -- that’s not a fair and balanced outcome. And despite what you may think, your body is smarter than you – it’s designed to maintain a truthful balance regardless of what you are trying to force it to do.
So, during my period of man-flu, I chose to come up with some important points to ensure that I was able to better manage my time, energy levels, and performance.
1. Have standards
Regardless of what hours you work in a day, you must have minimum work standards for those hours. Because more can’t be better if things only get worse, right?
Ensure you maintain consistency, and if you’re not maintaining it, then moderate your hours accordingly.
You must start listening to your body and hearing what it’s trying to tell you.
There’s huge benefit in listening to the early whispers asking you to slow down, rather than waiting for the cries to stop.
Learn from your mistakes.
I’m 14 years into being a PT and I’m still learning how to find this balance – the trick is to build on your learnings and understand that there’s no perfect plan.
How you spend your hours away from work play a huge role how much you’re going to be able to push the limits of your body with your work.
A well-balanced lifestyle will always give you more energy for work.
How often have you taken an amazing break or a holiday and said to yourself “Wow, I should do this more often” only to quickly get caught up in work again forgetting you ever muttered those words?
Micro-breaks are a great way to avoid falling into this trap. I think we could all benefit from a three-day weekend every 4-6 weeks. You don’t have to even have to go anywhere specific, just take some time and give back to the body and mind.
6. Be selfish with your personal time
I thought by working seven days I would be giving more to my clients, but it quickly backfired as all I ending up doing was offering more time, but less quality.
Once I started being more selfish with my personal time, I became much more giving with the time I actually offered. Weird I know, but it’s the truth.
Some final thoughts
Look, a lot of this stuff is simply part of the learning curve of life and something that has to be experienced to make sense. But if I can leave you with one thing to think about it would be this: “You can’t give what you don’t have”.
Want more work-life balance tips? Use these techniques to enjoy the personal and professional benefits of a well-balanced life.