London folks, we don’t have it easy and we’re somehow proud of it. Within an environment, where a filled up social and work calendar is almost a social status on its own, you may ask yourself ‘Is this vanity, lack of focus or plain stupidity?’. Our view is it’s none of that.
Perhaps triggered by Ed Baldwin’s popular article suggesting that ‘Busy is the new Stupid’, our own hectic lives and the occasional comment of ‘But how do you manage it all?!’, we wanted to share our perspective on being busy, handling multitasking, finding focus and getting that satisfactory feeling of self-fulfillment at the end of the day.
The key to balance is in your pocket. Just unzip it.
The 50-hour work weeks, the early weekend brunches, the late networking sessions, the conflicting calendar entries, the late night gallery visits, the long commutes, the demanding clients, the demanding partners – may all sound way too familiar, but you must have that little smirk on your face, because you manage all that and so much more .
If you spent as much time contemplating your life choices this January, as did the 41% of Americans who set a New Year resolution, then certainly the thought of self improvement tricks, making your life more exciting, finding love or finally getting fit, crossed your mind (and the pages of your newly bought 2017 notebook).
While we don’t believe in the effectiveness of New Year resolutions, we are firm believers of goal setting and keeping track of our progress. As such, balance has been an absolute priority for the last year and humbly, we think we’re doing something right.
In a previous article exploring what is it like to work in management consulting, we highlighted that regardless how junior you’re in your career, having a say in your work routine is vital for progression, productivity and to be honest, sanity too. Whether this is saying ‘no’ to work which will overstretch your capacity and make you sacrifice your weekend or being firm about taking enough holiday, training days or regular breaks, directing the balance in your work life is a prerequisite for finding balance elsewhere.
While some may find happiness in putting all their efforts into a single activity, we find self-fulfillment in everything from investing time in our hobbies, reading on the topics we’re passionate about, spending time amongst inspirational people, taking ‘me time’ to reflect, being focused at work and the impact we have. Does this make us busy? Of course, but we choose what to be busy with.
Beat the comfort routine – make it happen.
We have all been guilty of procrastination whether it’s that side project you had in mind for over 15 months and never started, the temporary exhibition you were meaning to visit or that conference you wanted to submit a paper to and just missed the deadline.
Blame it on comfort zone and inertia, there are still a number of solutions that can help you avoid the trap. Here are our top 3 tips.
The calendar entry
You can never be too organised, someone important once said. Creating the tangible 2-hour slot entry to explore a topic in your diary or ‘booking’ a Saturday morning just for yourself with no distractions can make the difference between having a good idea and writing a business plan. Or finally booking that holiday in the Italian Riviera.
Being surrounded by people who ‘make it happen’
We recently went to a fantastic talk by Eileen Burbidge, a lady who not only is the UK FinTech ambassador, but also a world-renowned venture capitalist, board member of 20 startups, a mother of 4 and overall, an inspiration for anyone who has questioned if you can have it all. While she felt strongly that the 50 – 50 work life split is never possible, she was a prominent example that making conscious choices how to structure your daily routine, makes a difference.
Hold yourself responsible
You would often expect a personal commitment from the colleague you work on a joint project with, so why would you treat yourself any different? Holding yourself to a higher standard is the best attitude you can project and you might even set an example for others to follow. It also helps getting shit done.
We all wear the hats of life and often switch between being good employees, husbands, daughters, friends, girlfriends, entrepreneurs, art lovers or avid travellers. It will be a pity to leave any hat behind.
Be busy. Be stupid.