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Our Favourite Ways to Achieve Balance in 2015

We've decided that in 2015, we're looking for balance. We asked a number of incredibly insightful life coaches and professionals for advice on how to do it


January always brings with it promises of improvement, whether we vow to give up drinking, lose a few pounds, or even quit smoking. We give up a vice or two, but does it have a long standing effect? Sometimes, but the goals we set ourselves are usually lofty and unachievable - meaning we are likely to fall at the first hurdle.

We decided that in 2015, we're looking for balance. We're not going to promise to leave work on time every day; however, we will promise to do it at least three times a week and when that becomes the norm, we'll push the boat out further.

We asked a group of our nearest and dearest coaches and professionals to give their favourite tips on balancing work and family in 2015. These coaches provide a variety of services for individuals and companies, but they all joined us at an exciting event for working parents in 2014.

The Work and Family Show 2015

The Work and Family ShowJoin us at The Work & Family Show is designed to help working parents find the support and advice they need to effectively balance work and family - whether they are looking for work, returning after a career break or trying to break through to the next level of their careers.

The second annual event will take place at London ExCeL from February 20th to 22nd, and we look forward to seeing you there!

The best ways to achieve balance this year

Strengths and weaknesses

Just as it's important to understand and value your strengths, it's just as essential to recognise what you're not good at, and let go of it. Outsource and delegate when you can, and focus on tasks you do do well and enjoy.

If you can't outsource or delegate, then do your best at it and accept that will have to be good enough - without guilt or regret.

Hannah Martin, Co-Founder, Talented Ladies Club

The battle with technology

How about getting away from all forms of screen and read a good book for half an hour before you go to sleep each night? I've been trying it - the downside is that I don't get much reading done as I am asleep inside of ten minutes!

Claire Woodridge, Coaching and Consultancy Manager, My Family Care

Balance is a process, not a destination

Step away from the screenDon't get lured by the ideal of achieving "work-life balance" which sounds like a perfect end point. "One day I'll get there," we say to ourselves, and then get frustrated when that day never seems to come.

Take heart from remembering what it's like trying to stand on one leg! Balance is a repeated sequence - a process, not a destination: wobble... micro-adjustment... wobble... big adjustment... wobble... fall over... short period of stability... wobble... another adjustment...

Break "balance" down:

  • What does balance look, sound and feel like for you - specifically and tangibly?
  • What are some of indicators to you of being in balance and out of balance?
  • What micro-adjustment could you make this coming week that would improve your sense of balance?
  • What's different for you if you think of your desire to achieve a good balance as being a process, not a destination?

Rebecca Hourston, Managing Director, Move Mountains

Balance begins within

Practice mindfulness! Invest 20 minutes a day, and your reward will be generalised relaxation and a better sense of well-being. My second tip is to eat more chocolate.

Amanda Sasada, Executive Coach, My Family Care

Semantics and some deep thinking

Be mindfulDecide what you mean by 'balance' (or 'integration', if that fits better). Sometimes we think in all-or-nothing terms - it's all out of balance and we don't know where to begin:

  • What would balance actually look like?
  • Where am I on a scale of 1 to 10 happiness with my work-life balance. What would I be content with (e.g. 8 or 9)? What would actually have to happen (once or regularly) to achieve that - specifically?
  • Can I allow myself to view it over a month, for example, instead of a day or week - all of us have some mad weeks - but should I take a longer look at designing the bigger picture?

Jennifer Liston Smith, Director of Coaching and Consultancy, My Family Care

Think before you act

Decide whether what you think needs doing really needs doing, or whether it can wait (she said responding while on holiday).

And, make sure you let your team know that just because it suits you to send an email late at night or on hols, it does NOT mean you automatically expect the same!

Beccy Ford Johnson, Executive Coach, My Family Care

'Help' is a positive word

Don't attempt to be a superwoman; it is neither sustainable nor healthy. Make sure you take time out for yourself and, when you're feeling overly committed, ask for help! We all need support, and asking for an extra pair of hands is not a sign of failure.

Vanessa Vallely, CEO and Founder, WeAreTheCity

Value work and home

Manage important home relationship as you would VIPs at work - they are important buffers against stress:

  • Schedule time to catch up regularly - weekly - and stick to those appointments. 'Sorry honey, I cannot talk tonight, I'm washing my hair', isn't a good excuse to cancel!
  • Ensure you are free from distractions - would you have the TV on when you meet your manager? Then don't when you are catching up with your partner
  • Make sure you don't just talk about budgets and practical operational stuff. Focus on creative exciting opportunities, too, such as why the relationship is working for you and how it might work even better in the future.

Sam Pringle, Life Coach, My Family Care

Quality over quantity

Schedule time to catch up

Finding a work-life balance is a mind-set rather than a time-set. Be 100% present, play, and have fun - both at home and at work.

Tibisay Vera, Founder, Sparkling Performance

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