The Juggle: How to cultivate work life balance

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The concept of work life balance has shot to glory in recent years, as society moves away from hustle-at-all-costs culture and closer towards something resembling the hallowed concept of balance.

While work life balance is an idyllic goal, we like to keep things realistic at Gill & Hooper and dedicate ourselves towards life juggling—meaning we keep track of what balls we have in the air at once, what ones we can afford to drop and what ones need particular attention.

Here are our top tips to help you juggle it all.

Glass vs Rubber Balls

On the subject of balls in the air, it might be construed as slightly cliché to talk about ex Coca Cola CEO Brian Dyson’s infamous speech on glass vs rubber balls in this context—but we reckon it’s exactly how the ever-important words were intended to be received, and absolutely fundamental to the work-life juggle.

He very famously said “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

So, on that note, perhaps the first question to ask yourself when striving for more balance in your life is, do you treat work as a rubber ball? Or do you treat it as a glass one? We’ll leave that with you…

Have Dedicated Time Off

It becomes all-too easy when you’re committed to your career to set flexible boundaries that quickly give way to answering the odd email here, or taking a phone call during family time there.

Having non-negotiable time off is one of the most important ways to juggle work with life, as it keeps work from controlling (read: consuming) your schedule. At Gill & Hooper, we enforce a ‘no emails from 7pm until 7am and on weekends’ rule, where we silence the app from our phones. That means we have to be super intentional if we want to check in on anything. This prevents it becoming habitual and a major drain on our time and energy.

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Make Time For Things That Fill Your Cup

Whether it’s yoga, a standing coffee date with friends, a gym class or swimming lessons with your little one, it’s so important to set aside plenty of times that refresh and revive you—and bring you back to who you are as a person. Not as a Property Manager, or Sales Associate, or whatever your job is, but as a human with a family and interests and goals that extend beyond the day-to-day workings of your career.

You’ll undoubtedly have heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”—and understanding this is central to carving out balance in your life. Schedule these cup-filling joys as you would a work meeting, and notice how you begin to feel less overwhelmed as a result.

Define What “Enough” Looks Like For You

One of the major realisations that hits when you reach adulthood is that there is always more that can be done. Whether it’s work emails, housework, planning for your side hustle or life admin, the list really, truly never ends.

So getting clear on what constitutes “good enough” for you will help you spend your time wisely—leaving you with more time for variety and balance in your day-to-day. Adding a “must-do” section to your to-do list is a great way of implementing this on a granular level; as it defines your non-negotiable and maps out what your “enough” looks like for that day.

What tips and tricks do you use to juggle the many balls that are life—work, family, friends, interests, hobbies and the rest? Let us know in the comments below!

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