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The easy way to work life balance

What is work/life balance?

Different meanings for all of us in some way or another, whether you are self-employed or employed by another person in my mind doesn’t make a lot of difference.

So, what is all the fuss about, why do the majority of people rabbit on about having a better balance and what’s stopping them from achieving it, I think it’s because we all want our cake and at the same time we also want to eat it, oh yes, and just maybe we are far too afraid of stepping out of our comfort zone to get that balance what of what we really long for.

Excuses.

If work-life balance was something that was hanging from a tree most people would be wishing that they were taller so they could just pick it like you would if it were an apple, so having the brains to realize that you’re not going to grow 2-foot taller while standing there you just walk away looking for someone who will listen to your sad story of life not treating you the way it should.

Beaten into submission

My Dad had a perfect work/life balance along with the majority of the millions of men and woman that survived the first and second world wars, and I can only hazard a guess that the people that survive the current world war that started around October 2019 will have more to think about than a better work/life balance.

When I say my dad, and Mum come to that, had a perfect work/life balance I believe it was because they were beaten into submission of, be grateful for what you have and don’t expect any more, although they had their hopes and dreams their wants and ambitions they seemed to know not to step out of the lines that society had laid down for them.

For me and Marilyn being born in 1950/51 it was a time of orderly conduct for the vast majority, (very much what the world is going into now) Dad was on the edge metaphorically speaking of the box that most people were in, although he complied he was very grateful for having a secure job and took his responsibility very serious never skipping work for a day in his life.

The world changed

The 1980’s brought a new breed of worker as the new bosses disrupted their industries but dad had already retired in the 70’s having served his 46years of working, with the last 30 years going to the same place 10 minutes away by bicycle from 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday coming home for dinner in the middle of the day.

When I said that he was on the edge of the box, what I meant was although he accepted and embraced his job he would always be saying “I should have” which I truly believe that sentence changed my life, but not straightaway, he wanted to go into business but as time went on he bought his own house, proud to be the first one in the family to achieve that goal, he got a car, a normal thing to have now but unusual in those days, they had 3 children and dad built our own caravan to have holidays in, again not normal for someone who seemed content to be put in a box.

The one thing he and everyone around him didn’t know was that he was Dyslexic so jumping out of the box I would say was normal but I could never understand him jumping back in until years later when I realized he had the same problem as me, he would jump back in because he thought he was somehow inferior to others in his mind, but of course he wasn’t, he was a highly skilled tradesman who wasn’t afraid of anything except reading and writing.

Caught in a trap.

On leaving school at 15 the world was my oyster, so I followed my heart, working with animals (on a chicken farm) you see, I hated people, chickens were grateful just to be fed and they wouldn’t or shall I say couldn’t call me stupid like people had done over the previous 10 years, and you were wondering why I said that I hated people.

After the boss one day proudly told me that his 3 year old grandson could read better than me I told him in that case he should try feeding the 10,000 friking chickens twice a day and left, which became a blueprint for the next 16 jobs, the one great thing about having so many jobs although I didn’t think so at the time was that I met so many people that hated their jobs and yet had stayed for years and others that had their minds elsewhere while their bodies were just going through the motions until retirement.

For 9 years up to the age of 24, I wasn’t comfortable or happy with going to work I went primarily because I needed the money, I didn’t want any of the jobs, it wasn’t because I was lazy I just really wanted to look after myself but with no skills and no money what could I do, I felt like I was trapped inside a cage.

Talk about work/life balance, whatever job I was on 8, 10, 12 or even 15-hour shifts, I did every conceivable shift day and night with all days being the same, nothing worked and although I had absolutely no problem in leaving a job in the morning and then getting another in the afternoon my problem was that final break because I hadn’t got a clue of what I could do, and besides how could I run a business! I couldn’t even read.

What was the answer.

I went to work every day with my stomach churning with anxiety not wanting to leave Marilyn knowing that she was just as miserable stuck in a 10 foot caravan with a 3 year old child on a building site, what could be more out of sync with having a good work/life balance.
Sometimes you can put it right with just a bit of tweaking but for both of us the balance had gone too far or better still it was never in place from the start, luckily I lost another job just as the Country was going into a recession, I say luckily because with no jobs available the choice was a life on welfare or a life in business, both had their attractions.

One was money for doing nothing, but I had been searching for 9 years and it wasn’t for money for nothing as I had proved that I wasn’t lazy, so it was a life in business then, because the attraction was that we could work and look after each other together knowing that two heads are better than one.

Suddenly life came into balance.

It was getting on for 12 midday of Thursday 26th September 1974 when my work/life balance changed, work as I knew it had gone, so if work as I had known it had gone then all I was left with was life.

What an exhilarating yet frighting feeling I had, it was total freedom and so I started to live in the moment, my work/life balance had gone as I had no choice but to except it, did it matter, no, as I had never had a choice, it was all in my mind and all I had was this moment in time which was mine and mine only whereas before the time belonged to someone else my boss and very often I didn’t have a clue who they were and yet my whole life depended on them.

Procrastination.

Probably the world’s biggest stumbling block to health wealth and happiness, well it certainly was mine and I don’t see myself to be any different to the majority of people wanting a great work/life balance.

I learned that day that sitting on the fence was no life for us but it was me that had to make the decision for the both of us, sometimes when 2 or more people are procrastinating one person has to make a decision, right or wrong one has to be made and a wrong decision is very often better than no decision at all.

Once I had made my decision all the anxiety that came along with always being found out when getting a new job that I was unable to read was lifted and for the very first time in my life I felt free, free to live life on my own terms, now I couldn’t hide and I was ready to face my fears.

I now knew that the talents that I had hidden inside of me could now come out without the fear of being called stupid by people that thought they were superior to me, now I was going to help people who needed my help so amazingly I was prised for things that seemed simple to me cleaning windows, unblocking drains stopping sewage overflowing into gardens, mending roofs after storms, I had found how to capitalizes on my intelligence, not someone else’s expectations of what intelligence I should have.

Curiosity and spontaneity come naturally to me and I found that I was a talented communicator when it came to things that I knew and I would never run out of words when things start to heat up or get complicated, my approach to life was deeply energetic, change didn’t scare me not for a second as it inspired freedom for me.</p

Make up your mind now

Well, what do you want and why? Once you have decided you are committed and there’s no going back no plan B. It was very simple for us, as I have said we hated being apart and thought working together we could help each other, simple as that, that’s when we started to use the KISS method of keep it simple.

Make lists.
What do we want?
List eg
To be together 24/7
To have security
What do we need?
List eg
Food
Shelter
Money
How do we achieve it?
List eg
Prioritise
Focus
What don’t we need?
List eg
Distractions
Waste

Your goals.
50 year goals
25 year goals
5 year goals
1 year goals
Monthly goals
Weekly goals
Daily goals
Hourly goals
The most important goals by a mile are the ‘minute to minute’ goals.
Goals relating to:
Personal
Family
Friends
Work
Money
Lifestyle
Home
Location
Hobbies
Leisure
Fitness
Food
Education
The list goes on:
Then there is the sub-categories in all of these,
then the detail that goes along with achieving your goals.

So in a nutshell.

We achieved a great work/life balance by combining them both into just the one and I suppose I could explain it very simply by saying that if you set a course in a boat to go across the English channel, the tide and the currents will continually take you off course and to get safely to your destination you must be prepared to adjust your steering and re-plot your course continually with enthusiasm and focus.