3 Actually Doable Ways to Create Greater Work-Life Balance
We’re already a few weeks into 2019, and if you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolutions to create a better work-life balance may already have gotten pushed to the wayside. Life happens; we get it — not to mention, work-life balance can feel especially out of reach to those in the events industry, where long, irregular hours and frequent “fires” can make you feel like you’re not in control of your time.
Yet there are ways to gain back that control and make this the year you finally feel you’re creating a sense of equilibrium in your professional and personal lives. We spoke with work-life balance expert Mary Loverde to get her best tips for event professionals. (By the way, Loverde also does speaking engagements for conferences.)
1. Create a new definition of life balance
Event professionals are experts at managing, prioritizing, organizing, delegating and simplifying in their work life; after all, the success of their meetings and conferences depends on it. Yet if those same strategies were going to help you balance your personal life, they would have worked by now.
Connection, instead, is what creates a balanced life—connection with your family, friends, community and perhaps on a spiritual level. As hard as it is to admit, you will never get it all done; and when you don’t, you should not feel as if you have failed. Leave this mindset behind and instead, repeat this motto: “When you can’t keep up, connect.” Then disconnect from what is distracting you, and focus on building those relationships.
2. Pay attention to your needs
Connection to yourself is just as important. When events get grueling and you’re tempted to set aside what you know you need as a human being, you’re depleting what you have to offer your teams and your client, and making yourself less effective as a worker. Make a promise to continually invest in yourself to help you function at your peak. This includes:
Getting enough sleep. Too little sleep impairs our cognitive and physical abilities even more than being intoxicated. You may think you can put on an amazing event while being tired, but eventually your capacity will become depleted. The solution: Quit some of the things that are getting in the way of more sleep, like mindlessly scrolling social media in bed.
Meditating. Carve out just five minutes and download the app HeadSpace. Practice mindfulness and make a few minutes of meditation part of your daily routine. This is especially important in the events industry, where knee-jerk reactions to problems can cause greater headaches down the road.
Drink more water. This is an obvious one, but so many people don’t drink enough, especially when on-site at an event. Filling up on water can also prevent confusing thirst with hunger, helping you avoid overeating at meals.
Exercise. You might think a trip to the gym isn’t possible with a busy event schedule, yet even getting outside for a few laps around the block has benefits for your physical and mental health. Or, learn a Tabata workout, which only takes four minutes.
3. Establish rituals that connect you with what you value most
Meaningful rituals give us the predictability and stability that make us feel safer and more connected. For example, designate the first Wednesday of the month as movie date night with your family, make pancakes for dinner once a week, or hide notes of encouragement in your kids’ or spouse’s sock drawer every time you leave home. Make these part of your routine and stick with them. They go a long way in strengthening human relationships, which creates an overall positive effect on your outlook on life and work.