Emails, text messages, Slack messages, phone calls… Work never ceases to stop, especially in this modern age of technology where it’s easy to be “permanently” at work. And this has made the work-life balance a lot more difficult to maintain.
It’s no secret that making a distinct line between work and life is key to avoiding burnout. Yet, many of us still struggle with deeply-ingrained habits of the “hustle culture.”
What does it take to break away from these unhealthy patterns and find a more sustainable balance between your professional and personal priorities?
That’s one question that Payal Kadakia, founder of ClassPass and author of LifePass, may just have the solution to. Taking inspiration from her interview with Vishen on The Mindvalley Podcast, here are some insights on how to balance work and life:
- What Is Work-Life Balance?
- What Is the Impact of Poor Work-Life Balance?
- How to Balance Work and Life in 4 Steps, According to Payal Kadakia
“No day should ever be lived without feeling like it was a fulfilling day,” says Payal in her book. “You need to set yourself up for that.”
And this is where you can start.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
The meaning of work-life balance is, as the name suggests, how you divide your time and focus between your career and your personal life. It’s that concept of “work hard, play hard,” where you’re solely focused on work when you’re in the office. But after working hours, you devote your quality time to family, friends, and yourself.
This idea is often viewed from the “always on” work culture angle. However, the scale swings both ways — work can interfere with family and leisure time, and vice versa.
Why is work-life balance important?
In this fast-paced world we live in, stress is inevitable. And that can lead to a number of mental, physical, and emotional problems. So maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for your well-being.
Here are a few benefits of finding that sweet balance:
- Lowers stress levels
- Boosts your mental health
- Improves your physical health
- Helps you be in the present
- Strengthens your relationships
- Helps you be engaged at work
- Bolsters clear, creative thinking
- Increases your productivity
- Brings joy and fulfillment
- Results in higher levels of success
With this balance, you’re able to stay calm, make better decisions, and see the bigger picture. Moreover, it can help nurture your professional life and the elements in your personal life without feeling guilty about spending too much time on one or the other.
It’s like the saying goes: “work hard, play hard.” However, this isn’t just one of those cliché work-life balance quotes; it actually holds merit.
Researchers of a 2016 study published in The Open Psychology Journal tested the “work hard, play hard” hypothesis to see if those who are career-driven also push themselves to succeed at hobbies. Their findings revealed a strong link between being motivated to succeed at both work and play.
The takeaway is that many of us desire to succeed professionally and personally. Therefore, finding a balance between the two is imperative so that we can actually succeed instead of just desiring to do so.
What Is the Impact of Poor Work-Life Balance?
The reality is, work-life balance will never be perfect; rather, it’s a constant teeter between sides. The problem is when your energy leans towards one more than the other, it’s bound to leave you feeling stuck in life.
Modern technology has made life easier in so many ways. We’re now able to do business and connect with people around the world in mere seconds. The downside to all these blessings is that it puts pressure to be in work mode at all times.
Stress and overload have become such a massive problem that people are experiencing burnout. In fact, 77% of Deloitte’s 2022 survey respondents reported that they had experienced burnout, specifically at their current job. What’s more, half of them said it’d occurred more than once.
According to a research article by The Limeade Institute, a well-being company that creates healthy employee experiences, burnout can cause the following consequences to happen:
- Work or family conflict
- Sleep disturbances
One great way to combat an unbalanced life is learning how to focus on your priorities. And that’s something that Payal can help you with.
How to Balance Work and Life in 4 Steps, According to Payal Kadakia
It can sometimes feel impossible to find the time to split between your work, family, and fun. (And let’s not forget time for yourself!) After all, there are only 24 hours in a day.
How does a busy entrepreneur like Payal do it? Her secret: goal-setting.
It might sound irrelevant to creating that balance in life. However, according to the founder of ClassPass, it’s what helps her manage her time.
“Time is the most important resource,” she explains. It’s true that it’s limited, but if you’re able to master time management, that’s when you “truly start spending your life doing the things you want to do.”
So let’s get into how to balance work and life with the four steps Payal shares on The Mindvalley Podcast.
1. Get a sense of where you are right now
Similar to setting life goals, the first step to bettering your work-life balance is to reflect. This allows you to see how far you’ve come and to truly understand what you want in your future.
“Take time to think about [your] last year and what themes were present,” says Payal. She adds that it helps to identify the things in your heart, emotions, and mind that were really driving you.
You can look into the 12 life categories and list down words for each. For example, in the health and fitness area, it could be “sluggish” and “loafing.” Or, in the emotional area, it could be “grateful” and “blissful.”
2. Identify where you want to be
Now that you know where you’re at, imagine where you want to be in your heart and mind one year from now.
Payal explains that this anchors you in on emotions and themes that you want to be run to a year from now. So instead of listing things you want to achieve (which, as she points out, is just “check, check”), this comes down to how you want to feel in a year.
So, as with the first step, list down words that will act as themes for your future. “When you start thinking about it in terms of these words, you start to have dream words that become very important and pervasive in your life,” she adds. “And you start running towards them.”
3. Block off your time
Chances are, you’re unaware of how much time you spend on something. For instance, you could be scrolling through your Instagram, and the next thing you know, two hours have gone by.
So use time blocking to compartmentalize your time for the different activities in your life. Block off time for work, eating your meals, spending time with your children, having date nights, daily runs to the donut shop, and so on and so forth. Be as specific as you can, so instead of doing weekly planning, do it for daily.
Another thing Payal suggests is rating each block of activity to understand how they help you get to your dream word. For example, having date nights could be a 10, so you keep that. But your daily routine to get pastries might be a two, so you “nope” that from your schedule.
“This is just for you to have a sense of where you are right now,” she says. “Without understanding your time and how it is serving you, you don’t really know what to change in your life.”
4. Choose three areas to dedicate your focus on
The next big part, according to Payal, is to focus on three areas for the next three months. This is where you’re going to put down actionable goals.
So, let’s say you decide to focus on your home, being a parent, and being a partner. Your measurable goals could be buying a new light fixture for your dining room, spending an hour with your children every Sunday morning, and going on weekly date nights with your partner.
They don’t have to be big and audacious. They can actually be small and manageable.
“Starting small is the way to go to get to a place that’s going to be big,” as Payal points out. “The more you get into the process of completing these amazing goals that are in line with your dream words, the more you’re gonna say, ‘Oh my god! I can do even more!’”
Baby steps, as they say.
Great Change Starts With You
The ideal work-life balance really depends on the individual. But you can learn how to find the balance that’s right for you.
And you can do so at Mindvalley, where our trainers can help you adopt the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. Here are a few quests that can help you get there:
- Lifebook. Guided by Jon and Missy Butcher, this program shows you how to set a crystal clear vision for the person you want to become and the life you want to live.
- Becoming Focused and Indistractable. With the help of habit formation expert Nir Eyal, you can learn how to shift your attention and energy from distractions to where they matter most to you.
- The Habit of Ferocity. Peak performance expert, Steve Kotler, teaches you how to use “ferocity” to get in the state of flow so that you can constantly access your peak focus, productivity, creativity, and intuition.
When you register for a Mindvalley account (for free, of course!), you can check out sample classes from these sought-after experts as well as other trailblazers in the area of transformational growth. With their wisdom, you can discover new paths to success.
It’s as Payal says, “The biggest part about life is your own discipline, your own motivation, and your own ability to do it.” So it’s time to awaken the greatness in you.
Image source: @payal