BALANCING WORK AND SOCIAL LIFE IS SOMETHING THAT I’VE HEARD MANY PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH – INCLUDING MYSELF! ON ONE HAND, THERE’S A PERSON THAT IS A WORKAHOLIC AND NEVER MAKES TIME FOR SOCIAL MEET UPS, AND ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE’S THE SOCIAL BUTTERFLY WHO IS ALWAYS MEETING UP WITH FRIENDS AND ALWAYS ATTENDING SOCIAL EVENTS, BUT NOT ACCOMPLISHING MUCH WORK-WISE. MY GOAL IN THIS POST IS TO GIVE YOU SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO BALANCE THE TWO WITHOUT SACRIFICING EITHER OF THEM.
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Trust me, I get it, balancing work and social life is no easy task. It seems like it’s something that should come naturally to us but the reality is, it doesn’t. As an ambivert (perhaps tending more to the introvert side), I really enjoy being home and having me-time, and because I normally work A LOT of hours per week, I don’t find it strange that I want to spend my free time at home. Especially as we are now dealing (in many countries) with a post lockdown situation, I know that this balance has been messed up for so many of us. Also, for me personally the problem was that because I worked with children for years, I didn’t have many interactions with adults, and then when I started working from home, I would mostly see only my housemates throughout the week, and many times at the weekend too if I didn’t go out.
I realised this was something I had to work on when I started becoming too comfortable at home and too obsessed with working after my work hours (before the pandemic I was also teaching private Italian lessons at the weekend, doing extra babysitting, managing my eBay store and trying to get more clients for my freelance work). So it’s not hard to see how I could easily spend every single day of the week at home and miss out on social life.
I don’t recall ever being SO socially active that I would neglect my work (I feel like from a young age I’ve always been quite sensible, hence why some of my friends call me grandma lol). But I’ve met many people that were the complete opposite of me and would tell me of how they would struggle to get work done (whether school or their actual job) because they were always thinking about planning (and attending) the next event. I know that big events are still on hold at the moment, but as we are slowly creating a “new normal” and starting to meet people again, the tips that follow can be applied to this season too. Below are a few things that I put in practice in my life so that I could have a good balance between work and social life
How to have work-life balance
I cannot stress this point enough; if you do not prioritize what you need to do daily, you will end up disorganized and feeling all over the place. Depending on the season you are in, you need to prioritize what is most important. And no, this doesn’t automatically mean that work will always have to be a priority because it’s work. I had times when work would get very demanding -mostly because someone I worked for didn’t respect my boundaries-, so I declined certain requests and prioritized my social life. I lost some money, but money isn’t always worth the stress. Of course, if I had a specific deadline or needed some extra money, I wouldn’t hesitate to say no to a social meetup, because I knew what my priorities were. So you need to evaluate where you are at in a specific season of your life, and decide what comes first.
PUT IT IN YOUR DIARY.
Most of the time, if something is not in my calendar, it means it’s not happening. Some days I had good intentions about going out and meeting up with friends, then some laziness (and work obsession) would kick in and I ended up staying home. So I learned to schedule things in advance, including my social life. If I text someone two weeks before (that’s London notice time hey) and we agree to meet on a specific day, then I will show up and I know I will have a good time. If you are a workaholic like me, scheduling social times is so important; we were made to connect with others and we need to spend time with other people. It doesn’t have to be every day, but taking a break once or twice a week will be good for your mental health. In the same way, if you are a social butterfly, work is important for you but you don’t know how to have a balance, schedule a few meetups throughout the week. Maybe instead of every day do it 2-3 times a week, so that you can look forward to those times and focus on work the rest of the week. If a last-minute request to hang out comes through, just kindly decline and offer to schedule a time when you are free to meet up. You will need to learn to respect your schedule and be strict with yourself, but it will work and it will be worth it.
PLAN A WORKING DATE.
This may sound a bit confusing, but it can actually work in your favor. Please note that to do this, you need to be quite good at having -and respecting- your boundaries, as well as being very disciplined, so this might not work for everyone, but many people do it and it works well. Essentially, this is the same as when you used to do study groups -if you ever were part of one-, but you do work instead. As I said, this does not work for everyone and with anyone, because some people will only be there to chill and will be a distraction, so your productivity will be very low. So be wise when choosing a work partner, but I did it several times and it always worked well with me. I think it’s a nice alternative and it gives me the chance to focus on what I need to focus on but at the same time I’m with a friend so when we’re having a break we can have a chat or a coffee and then get to work again. And at the end of the workday, you can always go for a quick meal so you do fit in your social time but it’s going to be alongside a productive workday.
As usual, these tips were very simple as this is what I aim to do with my blog, give you easy tips to organize all areas of your life, including your social life. Leave a comment if you found this useful and I would love to hear your thoughts!
And if you want to read my other post about creating a balance, this time around work and study, then click here to read the full post.