Living in the 21st century as a young professional can be stressful. There’s always another meeting or call to get on, countless notifications bombarding your phone, tasks that need to be done ASAP, people constantly needing your attention and so on.
This hectic lifestyle takes a bigger toll on our lives than we can imagine. Social media keeps us hypnotized and distracted just long enough to feel exhausted but not to admit that there’s a bigger issue beneath the surface: millennials (in their majority) don’t really know how to balance work and life.
That oftentimes leads to another term that is very popular amongst millennials—burnout. That happens when there were one too many phone calls taken and one too many tasks accomplished. Experiencing a burnout is no joke; it can really set us back and cause real damage not only mentally, but also physically.
So what can be done to prevent this vicious cycle where we run around all the time as if the world is going to end tomorrow? Here are some tested tips and tricks to try and balance work and life a bit better.
1. Try the Pomodoro technique
These days our society is all about efficiency. We all try to do more and be more and accomplish more. It is unavoidable and it’s expected from us. That’s why we can’t just throw in the hat, lay back with a can of beer and take our time when it comes to work or any other issue. To a certain extent, this sort of urgency can be a good thing: it pushes us to strive for bigger things. But we need to learn how to set limits and be smarter about doing things altogether. Our smartphones and other people can be the ultimate enemies when it comes to accomplishing tasks.
The truth is, we can all be more productive if we focus on one thing at a time and shut off distractions as much as possible. That’s why the Pomodoro technique can bring you great results. Next time you try to accomplish a certain task, just sit down in a quiet space, block your access to distracting websites or notifications and work on that task for 25 minutes straight. Once you’re done, take a short 3-5 minute break and do it all over again. There are various tools and variations of this practice online that you can research yourself, but the point is to try and focus on one thing at a time. You will be amazed how well this works!
2. Learn to say no
This is a hard one. People are taught since the moment they’re born that they have to be good people and they have to be helpful to others. That’s all good and fine until the deeply engraved need in all of us to be polite doesn’t start interfering with our lives, goals or even wellbeing. Sometimes, it feels as if we have, to unlearn this lesson later on in adulthood because it suddenly becomes clear that helping others all the time isn’t helping you.
Of course, that is not to say be rude or mean to people. The point here is to learn how to be a little bit more selfish. You don’t have to go to every event your friends invite you to, you don’t have to help that colleague that seems to be struggling with the same problem every time and you don’t have to accompany your friend when he or she decides to go shopping or to some concert. Someone once said, “If it’s not a hell yeah, then it’s pretty much a no.” That might not be applicable to every situation obviously, but it’s a good rule of thumb to follow when trying to decide whether you feel like doing something for someone else.
3. Organize your weeks and days
Knowing the most important things that have to be done every day of the week can simply transform your life. Many people are underestimating the power of planning. If you know what your overarching goals professionally and in life are, it becomes that much easier to break them down into the smallest of tasks and fit those into your schedule. By doing so, that allows you to do better in every area of your life and it takes the pressure off significantly. Chaos is not your friend if you’re trying to have a successful career, a busy social life, and an active romantic one.
By organizing the most important parts of your everyday life in an agenda somewhere (like work deadlines, appointments, meetings, trips, friend gathering and so on) you will be able to:
a. never miss a thing again (which causes plenty of stress) and;
b. see how your time is spent and how you can improve that in order to make other plans.
The more detail you include, the better. That way you remove a big chunk of stress from your life and you have a better purpose as to where you’re heading to next.
4. Create that precious “me” time
Taking time for ourselves is possibly one of the most important things we as human beings must do in today’s world. It should be punishable how much we are capable of forgetting and neglecting ourselves and our needs. There’s another saying that goes, “Happy people value their needs.” That also applies to you! Scrolling endlessly on Facebook or browsing for cool stuff on Instagram’s explore does not count. It’s a distraction and you can do that in your toilet breaks or while on the tram.
Real, valuable “me” time can be different for everyone. Some of the basic things that everyone should be doing in their “me” time each week is to exercise, read a book, splurge on food, get enough sleep and think a bit about your dreams. This has been repeated in countless articles and every successful person stresses the importance of this one- get your “me” time. Yet, many of us think it’s important and then, rarely take the time to pay attention to ourselves. Whatever you consider “me” time, you need to schedule it in advance, think about it and create a ritual out of it. It needs to become a habit and a need, similar to sleeping every night.
5. Move on when enough is enough
We all have something that is not ideal in our lives and needs work. Different areas of life need different actions so we can improve them. However, if you’ve worked tirelessly towards improving a certain area of your life long enough and it doesn’t seem to change or it doesn’t bring you value anymore, it’s time for it to go. Whether that is a toxic relationship or friendship, a job that doesn’t enable you to learn and grow (and you just hate it), a habit that is working against you (like smoking), negative emotions (like grudges) or whatever else it may be, know when enough is enough and move on.
You have to learn to cut these sorts of things out of your life, never look back and boldly move on. It will do miracles for your work-life balance and your whole existence in general. People have troubles when it comes to letting go of different stuff, but in the end, when something needs to go, it just does. Once you manage to put this thing that’s been sucking out your energy behind you, things will balance themselves out and your life will become a whole lot better.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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