The Sweet Spot of Work-Life Balance
In today’s fast-paced world, we never seem to be able to strike a perfect balance between work and life. In addition to being a mom to a 7-year-old boy, I also run a PR firm, take on emcee gigs, engage in illustration projects, and study for a psychology course. So hitting that sweet spot where work and life coexist in harmony has been a constant balancing act for me. Here are my ten rules I live my life by:
Know your priorities
As an enneagram type 3 person, achievement is my life goal. I used to think that I could do it all until I was hospitalized for a panic attack, followed by bouts of severe skin rashes. There are tons we may want to achieve, but the reality is, if we’re going to do something well, we need to prioritize. With the world moving so fast these days, instead of yearly goal-setting and evaluation, I would chop it down by quarter, making it more manageable to adjust.
Be picky about your work
Work is fun. What stresses us out are often the people we have to deal with. I believe there are enough businesses to go around, therefore, I am picky about the projects and jobs I take on, and the people I have to work with. This mindset is also why I insist on keeping my PR firm small, so we can work wonders for people and projects we love.
Why make staying organized a complicated task when Ryder Carroll came up with the perfect system we know as the Bullet Journal? After tucking my son into bed at 10 pm, I make myself a cup of hot rice water and dive into my planning for the next day, jotting down notes and to-dos. The great thing about planning the night before is that the process prepares our mind for the day ahead and allows us to sleep at ease.
Count your blessings
Besides planning for the next day, I would also jot down three blessings every night–a great mental exercise I learned from my psychology class.
Thanks to Google Drive, Google Doc, Asana, WhatsApp, Zoom, and the like, we can all work flexibly, which is something I value highly. We can now save that extra hour or two of commute time and spend it catching up on sleep instead.
Be unapologetic about your ‘me time’
At the age of two, my son already knew to “not to mess with mama’s ‘me time.’” We need to take care of ourselves to be a superhero for others, which is why I am very rigid about my ‘me-time.’ Even when my day is packed, I still hide in my study for 30 minutes to refresh and recharge.
Trust your team
You hired the people on your team because you thought they were good, so why micromanage if they are capable of working their magic? The only way to have control over everything is to do everything yourself, which is not sustainable. By giving your team the room to figure things out themselves will help them learn and grow, as well as alleviating your burden.
I hate wasting time commuting or pulling myself away from something that requires a lot of focus. A solution is to categorize your tasks and tackle them in batches, such as grouping meetings in one day, making home office days for admin and bookkeeping, morning email hours, family hours, etc.
Learn something new every day
I love podcasts. Audible, Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare are also content platforms that help motivate and inspire me. While I might not have the time to read an actual book, that 30-minute commute time is enough to listen to a podcast episode or a few chapters on Audible.
Listen to your body
Our bodies work on a cycle, which is especially true for us ladies. The only way to hack this cycle is to arrange our lives accordingly. During low energy days, we need to cut our brain some slack by avoiding creative work. Instead, replace it with administrative and bookkeeping chores, and tell yourself that it’s okay not to do it all sometimes.
With a bit of motivation and organization, work and life can be balanced after all.
About the Author
Fiona Wong founded W.O.W. THINGS, a public relations firm that focuses on tech startups. Before relocating to Hong Kong, Fiona was a radio and television program host in Toronto. She is currently a mompreneur, a professional emcee, and an illustrator. She has recently developed a passion for positive psychology and is planning on her next venture as a mentor and coach for parents and young people.