In her next column for The Latch, career woman Michelle Battersby shares her advice for balancing your work and social life. Formerly the APAC marketing director at Bumble and CMO for Keep it Cleaner, Michelle is setting out on her own to co-found an entirely new business — and she’s bringing us along for the ride.
I’m sure I am not the only one who thinks that maintaining an even balance between your work and social life is tough. Finding the North Star of both can be challenging, and when one does find equality it deserves much more credit than it’s ordinarily given.
We seem to be programmed from a young age to feel guilty for having too much fun; we’re told we should prioritise our time to focus on work and study.
It all starts at school, but I think this really becomes apparent when you hit university. Social skills aren’t taken into consideration when it comes to getting into the degree you’re after — the focus is on your grades. However, once you leave uni and enter the workforce it’s up to you how you manage your time outside the office.
You have to juggle the pressures, commitments and time management that often come with full-time work. We have all been in those roles early in our career where we worked insane hours and were forced to upskill on time management.
I will be the first to admit I have definitely found myself ditching the “social channel” of my life in moments of stress. I have done the same with my “health and fitness channel” and tend to rotate through which “channel of my life” I will switch off or turn down at any one time.
What I have come to realise, though, is that the channels outside of work are the ones that keep you going in your job. This is why it’s so beneficial to have other focuses, particularly those that involve others.
Having people to chat to, events to break up your week, and casual plans on the weekend all help you in the workplace as well. Maintaining an active social life adds to your network, helps you gain inspiration, get creative juices flowing, keep up to date with current affairs, stay worldly, keep motivated — the list is endless.
So, if you feel like you’re unsure of how to keep your social life and work-life going simultaneously (and successfully), here are my tips for how the two can go hand in hand.
It’s important to switch off from work from time to time. Doing this with someone else is a great way for you to stay connected with friends whilst also checking the box of not thinking about work.
Build new habits
I recently committed to waking up earlier to ensure I could spend more time with my sister before getting stuck into the workday.
It’s so important to look to build new habits that involve those around you. This could be anything from locking in one dinner a week with a different friend or having a couple of people over to watch your favourite TV show each week.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to see everyone you’d like to so involve people in the plans you already have (like binging Bridgerton in a day).
Spend time with those who are important to you
And don’t waste time with those that aren’t. As I get older, I am really starting to realise it’s OK to remove people from your life who don’t serve you.
This is something you don’t need to feel guilty about. Time is precious so save it for those who matter most to you. You’re much more likely to feel inspired, energised and motivated post-catch-up and they’re usually the ones who won’t judge you if your plans together do have to involve work from time to time!
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Not everyone is a morning person; some people like to wake a little later in the day and work into the night. It’s so important to know when you are the most productive and utilise that time to get through your work.
Of course, we don’t all have the luxury to choose our work hours, but take this tip to the tasks you need to complete. For example, if you are more productive in the morning then do all your tougher and longer tasks for the day first. Followed by the smaller tasks towards the end of the day when you don’t think you are at your peak productivity.
If you’re better in the afternoon, simply swap this concept around. Everyone is different and no one knows you better than yourself — stick to what works for you.
Exercising is an incredible tool to clear your head, exert some energy and spend some time with friends.
Staying active really helped me this past year with being in lockdown. Getting outside to get some fresh air, even for just a walk really sets you up for success for your day. You could even do your morning meeting during your morning walk. Two birds, one stone!