Despite, or because of the current pandemic, the number of people seeking coaching seems to have increased. I’ve noticed that the pandemic has given extra focus to a number of challenges. Those who are beginning to change direction and think about re-evaluating their work or domestic life are wanting, at least, a sounding board. The pandemic has made some individuals question again what is important to them and are reprioritising.
For those who haven’t worked remotely at home and who enjoy it, and who are perhaps more importantly not pressurised by extra demands and a lack of space, have found that remote working can give them an improved work/life balance. For many who work in an already pressurised environment and who tend to be perfectionists, the combination of work and life now so intrinsically interlinked has resulted in greater imbalance.
I’ve realised that, with coaches, that it is important to stress the importance of current legislation, including the Working Time Directive, which does not give breaks to individuals just for the sake of another piece of legislation, but because the human psyche and body need to take a break. Taking a break is very hard when the boundaries between work and home-life become increasingly blurred.
There are many people that say that all the days seem the same as there are so few differentiating factors and, if work is transactional, then you never finish it and we’re seeing more burn-out in organisations than before.
Certain personality profiles are likely to tend to want to over-perform, be the top of their tree and be the very best that they can at every hour of every day; this is impossible. The only way forward is to think carefully about how you utilise your time and what lessons there are from the additional focus that remote working has given. What do you really want to achieve in your life, not just in your work life, but overall, in say, the next 20 years? Is your desire a dream or can you make your dreams come true? How will you plan to make those big achievements to bring about the things that really make you happy? Are you able to really define what it is that will make you happy and can you access your desire in the first place?
Whatever it is that you want to do, this cannot be achieved without regular breaks in the day and regular holidays. Staycations will only work if you plan them carefully, just as you will only achieve your lifegoals if you plan those NOW. There is contradiction between the fact that we are working too hard without boundaries in some cases and it is not coincidental that we are unable to take holidays. Regular breaks are counter-intuitively more productive, not less productive, and taking a holiday is definitely the best thing to do, even if it cannot be far away from your base. Likewise, breaks during the day, enable greater productivity and a greater overall sense of well-being.
It is important to take ownership of your wellbeing and not be wracked by guilt if you need to take a break. In order to perform at our best, we all need downtime to recharge and, if everyone understands and adopts this attitude, then we give each other permission to balance the needs of our work and personal life more effectively.