These days, it’s normal to check emails on the train to work, or take a phone call while at your daughters soccer match on Saturday. We are constantly connected unless we make the conscious decision to disconnect. But how far is too far? Stephanie Thomas writes:
“Our work weeks are expanding because we’re performing work-related activities during non-work time. We live lives of weisure, a term coined by sociologist Dalton Conley. Conley notes that ‘activities and social spaces are becoming more work-play ambiguous’ and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to segregate the work aspects from the non-work aspects of our lives. The source of this ambiguity? Technology.”
Is there a way to combine work and leisure whilst still feeling like you have some semblance of balance? Is there even such a thing as balancing work and leisure? We think it’s all about perspective.
Richard Branson has been quoted as saying ‘I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living’. Easy for someone like Branson to say, don’t you think? That may be true, but it shouldn’t matter what industry you are in. If you think you are constantly drowning in work, then that will be your reality.
But what if the definition between work and leisure is blurry? Can they really be combined in a positive, balanced way?
The dream for most of us is to find something we love doing and make it our career, right? For most, the idea of dropping everything to follow a dream is unrealistic. Well, what if you could combine your current job with leisure. That is definitely more attainable.
In order to merge rather than submerge, we came up with these five tips will allow you to create better balance in your life.
1. Make fun part of every day
This means scheduling meetings at that new cafe you’ve been meaning to try. Or taking a trip after work to treat yourself, if you feel like it. It’s about including spontaneity in your day-to-day, and not feeling like you’re chained to your routine. Feel like watching an episode of your favourite TV show instead of staying up to finish that proposal? Do it. Studies show that we are far more productive if we take short breaks to have fun and relax.
2. Meditate and immerse yourself in nature
Instead of having a boardroom meeting, why not throw on your runners and go for a walk with a client or colleague. Recent research has proven just how effective these kinds of meetings are. Lolly Daskal says “I find that people not only feel better, but they’re more energized and alert because of the change of scenery of a walking meeting. It improves their thinking, and they’re more creative in finding new solutions and more inspired to do more meaningful work.”
3. Connect with friends
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? We find that chatting about our worries to a good friend or family member is a way to not only relieve the stress but also come up with creative ideas. Often we can block our own progress unintentionally by being too involved, and having another set of eyes and eyes can help. Catching up with a friend over a glass of wine? Ask for their opinion on a work challenge you are facing. Even if they know nothing about your industry, it can be refreshing to hear a different voice on the matter.
4. Socially minded
If you’ve had enough of networking or business events for one month, and are dreading the next one, then you probably need a change. Instead, why not take up that sport or hobby you’ve been meaning to try forever, and create your own opportunities to meet people! This way you’ll be doing something you enjoy and are likely to be in a happier frame of mind. Recently, Adele went to Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat for a solo weekend stay expecting to spend it in silence, and came away with three new contacts! So why not treat yourself, life is short.
5. Extend your business trip
A new trend emerging is what has been coined the ‘BizCation’, where employees are extending their business trip to include a few leisure days. As long as you make it clear to your employer that you’ll be covering the cost of the extra days in the hotel, there’s no reason why you can’t combine a business trip with a holiday! You could even go to a different town or city to explore, and use the time to disconnect from your phone and email, to come back feeling extra refreshed. Be sure to let your colleagues know which exact days you’ll be on holiday.
As Arianna Huffington says in her boom Thrive, “we think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”
Becoming more considerate about where and how you are working can have a great impact. Can you change up your routine to combine work with leisure?