Finding a Work-Life Balance

I don’t really know why I settled on titling this post “finding a work-life balance” because right now, it’s not something I feel I’ve had much of this week. Apologies in advance, this may turn into quite the ramble.

I’m tired. Really bone achingly tired. For some reason that always makes me, hungry, grumpy and sad. Not a winning combination.

The thing is, I’ve actually had a really good week.

I set of on Tuesday afternoon to York to a big conference for work. This may not seem like the biggest feat in the world for most of you, but when you live in Devon, a trip to the North-North really does take forever. As in 5 1/2 hours each way on a train. I say North-North too as if I’m honest, I’ve spent my whole life so far believing that any location North of Bristol is “the North”. Hashtag stereotypical south-westerner.

Anyway, back onto the star of this story, work-life balance, ahh yes, that’s where I was…

I’ve actually always been quite good at switching off from work. I think it helps that after work on a Friday I hop in the car for an hour and a half commute to sunny Plymouth, not having to think about it again until Monday morning on my drive back.

The internet provides this lovely work-life balance description:

Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).

My issue this week has been that in my three days at a work conference, there has been very little “life” in the balance and quite a lot of “work”. I really enjoy getting out of the office and meeting people in the same industry, and therefore am happy to put myself up for these sorts of trips.

This one was extra daunting as I was presenting on the second day to a room full of 350 “industry experts” most of whom, unfortunately for me, tend to be crusty old men with 30+ years experience. Quite the contrast to a twenty-something female graduate with just two.

Luckily, it went well.

I didn’t trip up on stage, fluff any of my speech, cry, get tongue-tied or any other dream scenario of things that could have gone wrong. Plus, I just about managed to answer all the questions shot at me afterwards when they opened the discussion to the floor. PHEW!

I think the issue was that whilst I enjoy doing something different, being able to prove my public speaking ability and knowledge within my sector, it is just so tiring having to constantly being on the ball, paying close attention to the information being thrown at you and networking for two days straight with a room full of people who mostly assume you’re somebody’s PA. Especially when I usually spend my evenings exercising, talking through our respective days with Adam and having a relaxed dinner with my family.

It’s amazing how when you disrupt just one week of a usual routine, substituting work-life balance with work-work balance for a few short days means by Friday you are shot. Completely exhausted. Done.

Still, it’s important to remember that sometimes we need to have weeks like this. Where you run around a strange city like a crazy thing trying to be in 5632416987 places at once whilst persuading everyone that your company are the people to talk to and, possibly more importantly, you really know your shit. To further our careers that small short term sacrifice is worth it. Just maybe not every week.

This weekend I’ve got the pleasure of a three day break, seeing as Monday is the most important day of the year…hint hint! I’m going to lie in, spend time in the garden, eat delicious food, visit some beautiful places and re-charge the life half of my work-life balance.