By Charlene Coleman, MD of HP|konnect • June 25, 2018

The Eye Of The Storm

If you’ve read the title to this article, and not immediately started humming ‘it’s the eye of the tiger it’s the thrill of the fight’ in your head, then I’m sorry to tell you we have a huge problem on our hands. If this is the sorry case, please do one of three things:

  1. - Head over and listen to it right here.
  2. - Head over and listen to it right here.
  3. - Head over and listen to it right here.

Don’t say I don’t ever give options. However, 80s classics that can be applied to any situation aside, when I say storm, what I mean is this crazily busy, fast paced, never ending, doesn’t let up, modern way of living we’ve now all adopted. Our worlds move fast and business, especially the tech industry, moves even faster. We are constantly growing, scaling, iterating and expanding, a constant flurry of movement and achievement. We hit deadlines and then jump into new projects before the dust has even settled, before once more jumping to dinners, school meetings, fundraisers, dates and family time. We never stop and it feels like we’re in the heart of a storm, chaos whirling everywhere and you in the middle, desperately trying to balance work and life and more often than not, failing at both.

I used to be the person who was unsuccessfully trying to juggle everything. Starting a business, family time, seeing friends, client meetings and doing it all at a hundred miles an hour, however, I knew that it couldn’t last and so I decided to make some changes. Those changes have then changed the pace and rhythm of my life and not because I have less to do, but rather because I’ve changed the way I manage it. Here’s some ideas if you’re currently sitting in the eye of the storm:

  • Change Your Language

The words we use have the power to define us, so switch the panic words out of your vocabulary and start controlling what you say. Things like overdue, firedrill and STAT serve only to add to your frustration and keep you stressed. Things will pop up in business all the time and you don’t always see the curve balls, but when they do come along you can bring the impact down by managing the language you use.

  • Get Strict

Discipline isn’t just reserved for the office but for your personal life as well. Be as strict with your time and planning at home as you are running from meeting to meeting at work. The idea of scheduled fun time sounds horribly boring to be fair, however, my teacher used to tell me that proper planning prevents pi** poor performance, and honestly, she was right.

  • Stop Telling Everyone How Busy You Are

Partly because it’s not a good look for anyone, but mainly because of the first point. The words we use and the narratives we tell ourselves have the power to impact us and constantly telling yourself and everyone around you how busy you are is exhausting and a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’re all busy. None of us are seeing enough of our friends, lovers and pets, and going on about it will probably just wind up everyone around you, including yourself.

  • Colour In The Grey

Fear not, I’m not suggesting you buy yourself one of those adult colouring books to magically help balance work and life, I wouldn’t do that to you, but rather don’t let ambiguity hang around. In work always chase up action points and deadlines, ensure everyone knows where the responsibility lies, but transfer this into your home life. It sounds regimental but I know that making sure I always knew what I had to do for family and friends and what was needed of me, helped balance the workload. Damnit a spreadsheet even got involved one time.

  • Aeroplane Mode

Before you start panicking, just hear me out. We live in a hyper-connected world, and I’m not suggesting you ever change that because that would be foolish of me. Anyone who tells you to get rid of your phone because ‘if it’s important enough they’ll find you’ deserves to not have a phone or ever be contacted ever again. Believe me, I work in recruitment, that thing is our lifeblood. But what you do deserve is some hours free to be present with friends and loved ones, or even just hanging out alone on your sofa with your favourite boxset so that you can unwind and relax properly. Knowing that notifications, whether they’re from your work or personal life, aren’t going to start popping up and demanding responses frees up your headspace exponentially. It gives your mind a little space to breathe and eases the tension. This might just be for a few hours before bed. It might be for the first hour of the day. Find some time and hit that aeroplane mode, I promise you that tiny button is capable of so much.

In fact, we are capable of so much, but we can’t do it when we’re constantly torn between our offices and our homes, never fully existing or present in either space. It doesn’t sound authentic but maybe we just live in a time where your personal life needs to be as tightly scheduled as your work life and that is how we create a better life after all.

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