Work, Life, Balance

Posted on: 08/01/2019

Work plays a huge role in our life and we typically spend over 25% of our week working including the time we sleep. Typically, our lives follow the path of going to school, possibly furthering our education but the end result is, we get a job. In my opinion, work isn’t just a way to make money and it should serve you both financially and emotionally.

I chose my career path in health and fitness because I enjoyed sport and it was what I did best. I can’t honestly say I was inspired by Maths and Science so if I wasn’t going to achieve a career in playing professional sport, the next best thing was to further my education in health and fitness, hence making the choices I did. By doing this, I certainly made decisions which was to choose my career in an area that I had huge passion for as opposed to be driven by money. It is a real slog to make a decent income in those early days in the fitness industry and you need to graft hard to achieve.

Success, in my opinion, is about living a life through making choices that guide toward your goals to be your best. Therefore, in my eye the real key is to create goals that you are passionate about with respect to health/appearance, career and relationships.

While work might be demanding at times, it should never become a priority over your wellbeing. You need time and energy for your hobbies and interests, for your family and loved ones. Don’t spend over eight hours every day working just to come home and neglect the things that keep your spirits high and passion fresh.
As you may know I owned a fitness club for 8 years and it was always my dream when I entered in the world of fitness to do and I am proud to say that I achieved it and the experience I gained during this time was second to none. I look back and can see many mistakes which I made and as a result I did not have a work, life balance which I was trying to help others achieve through exercise. I totally neglected family commitments and was driven by money which led to a stressed, tired and worn out human being. It also contributed to bad decision making and erratic behaviour which of course you don’t see at the time.

Sophie and I chose a new life in the Cotswolds in July 2018 to allow us both to put family first and to apply a focus to our passion in helping people achieve their health and fitness goals to become our focal point of work. This has provided us both the perfect balance and not to allow us to be driven by work. We both have a passion for work and running business, but we have now found a happy place where we smile, laugh and enjoy the important things in life. None of which are driven by money.

From the 10-year experience in running a business in fitness and in total I have spent nearly 20 years working in the fitness industry, here are my five ways to improve your work-life balance based on my own experiences:

1. To understand that there is no ‘perfect’ balance and to find what works for you

When you hear “work-life balance,” you probably imagine waking up at 5 a.m., hitting the gym, grabbing your meal-prepped lunch and heading off to work, just to come home early, cook dinner, do some chores, and wind down with a nice book in bed by 9 p.m. But that’s often not the case.
Don’t strive for the perfect schedule; strive for a realistic one. Some days, you might focus more on work, while others you might have more time and energy to pursue your hobbies or relax on the couch with your loved ones. Balance is achieved over time, not each day. This is what I have personally experienced in ensuring my career aspirations are met and I have enough time every week with my wife and children.

2. Put your health first

Your overall health should be your main focus. If you have been struggling with anxiety or depression, then workout what is causing it and how to overcome it. Leave work early or ditch your evening spin class. We put ourselves under such immense pressure too much. Don’t be afraid to step back from work commitments to recharge those batteries. You will only prevent yourself from improving and essentially always feel that you are in an uphill battle with life.

Health comes first as without this, you have nothing. Work out what makes you a better you and apply it.

3. Make sure you enjoy what you do

If you hate what you do, you are never going to be happy, plain and simple. You don’t need to love every aspect of working life, but it needs to be exciting enough that you don’t dread getting out of bed every single morning.
Personally, this is why I chose a career that I am passionate about and would actually do it for free if I had sufficient monies to support family life.
If your job is draining and you are finding it difficult to do the things you love outside of work then something is wrong. Fix it!

4. Don’t be afraid to switch off from the outside world

We live in a world now that is connected 24/7 and never sleeps. Cutting ties with the outside world from time to time allows us to recover from weekly stress and provide us space for other thoughts.

My brain was continuously wired up until 2 years ago and I wouldn’t go to sleep if any emails remained unanswered and I would wake up in the middle of the night to check my email. I now have times of the day where I shut down from the digital world, I take time away from the PC to walk, breath and recharge. Exercise has always been a big part of my life and I will always make time regardless. I am fortunate enough to be working day to day with clients physically, which is my ultimate passion and love supporting others achieve their goals in health and wellness.
When you are always switched on, you don’t allow other things to surface that might be more important.
Sometimes, truly unplugging means take time out and shut work completely off for a while by going away for a few days.
It is important to take a step back to physically and mentally recharge.

5. Make the time for yourself

While your job/career is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life and you need to take time out do the things that bring a smile to your face.
Additionally, you should focus on surrounding yourself with loved ones rather than making excuses not to do those things with those people because work is encroaching. Just because work keeps you busy doesn’t mean that you should neglect personal relationships.
Don’t take your loved ones for granted just because you know they’ll always be there for you. If anything, that’s more of a reason to make more time for them. Understand the important things in life.

That is work, life balance in my eyes