How to Achieve Work/Life Balance

Mastering the work/life balance is something I still have yet to conquer.
It’s inevitable that one will win over the other from time to time, but here are some models and theories I recommend to help with Work and Life planning:

Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
According to Daniel Goleman’s book, there are five key areas:

  • Self-awareness
    Knowing our emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drive, values and goals, and understanding how this impacts us and those around us.
  • Self-regulation
    Managing our emotions and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Motivation
    Motivating ourselves to achieve our aims and goals.
  • Social Skills
    Communicating well with others and creating connections.
  • Empathy
    Being aware of other people’s feelings and showing compassion especially when making decisions.
Emotional Intelligence diagram

Developing our emotional intelligence allows us to have a better understanding of ourselves and others. We are able to focus on what we really need and the best way to communicate it to others to achieve a work/life balance.

Growth Mindset is the understanding that new skills, abilities and intelligence can be developed over time as opposed to a Fixed Mindset which assumes intelligence is predetermined and set e.g. “you’re either smart or not”.


Dr Carol Dweck (who also has a book on the subject) explains in more detail in the video below:


How to be Supported When Building our Confidence?

Understanding the difference between a fixed and growth mindset allows us to commit to developing a growth mindset, focusing on working smarter not harder. This in turn allows us to focus on all areas of our lives not just being consumed with work.

Take this quiz to find out what type of mindset you have and learn how to develop growth mindset.

John’s Fisher’s Process of Change or Personal Transition Curve illustrates how we deal with change and  the different emotions we experience as we go through it.

Understanding this process helps us recognise when we are going through change (whether it’s by our own choice or not) and deal with it accordingly. When going through change, it’s important to remember to do simple things that we enjoy so we don’t get too overwhelmed by the process.

The Urgent-Important Matrix also know known as the Eisenhower Matrix or Covey Quadrant, created by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, prioritises tasks by urgency and importance, sorting out less urgent and important tasks which you should either delegate or not do at all.

This helps us to narrow down and focus on the tasks that we  need to do. This stops us from wasting time on unnecessary tasks and gives us more time to do the things that we enjoy.

Printable Daily Planners are also great for allocating time-slots for tasks.  Just remember sometimes tasks take longer than expected and it’s okay – that’s life!
Scattered Squirrel has a variety of free templates you can choose from.

The Conscious Competence Ladder or Four Stages of Competence helps us to understand how we can manage ourselves. The four stages are:

  • Unconscious incompetence
    We are blissfully ignorant, unaware that we don’t have a certain skill and as a result, don’t recognise what we are missing out on.
  • Conscious incompetence
    We know that we don’t have the skill and realise what it’s costing us.
  • Conscious competence
    We are learning a new skill and it requires effort and concentration to execute it.
  • Unconscious competence
    We have mastered the skill, it’s like second nature and we perform it with ease.

A good example of this is learning how to drive:

Initially you are unaware of the skills needed to drive a car. (Unconscious Incompetence)
You decide that you want to drive and start taking lessons. (Conscious Incompetence)

You pass your driving test, but you need to concentrate to remember different manoeuvres and signals. (Conscious Competence)
You are a confident driver with many years’ experience. So much so that you can get into your car, drive to your destination and not even remember doing it – it’s like you’re on autopilot. (Unconscious Competence)

By recognising and developing the skills we need to make our lives easier, we  are able to master them and they become effortless. This makes our lives easier and not so overwhelming, allowing us to focus more on the things we really enjoy.

Here are some websites with  even more useful tools to help you achieve your work/life balance:

  • Business Balls offers free online learning for Work and Life
  • Mind Tools provides management, leadership and personal effectiveness skills
  • Tiny Buddha has a variety of categories including Healthy Habits and Work Fulfilment
  • The Growth Mindset Playbook provides everything you need to build a Growth Mindset

You may not always get the balance right, but don’t be so hard on yourself,  just forgive and be kind to yourself – nobody’s perfect.

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