By: Kevin Byrnes
Balance: a condition in which different elements are equal or in correct proportions.
Doesn’t that definition of balance sound so easy to attain? Yet, most of us know and have likely experienced the difficulties of finding balance between our PR work life and lives outside the office. For me, finding balance with work and life has come in the form of working as a PR consultant (ByrnesPR & Media Services) out of my home and not working the traditional 9-5 in an office or newsroom, 40-plus hours per week.
The shift of going from my breakfast table to working at my desk hasn’t been without potholes. Yet over time, I have become accustomed to doing business from my home office. Here are some tips that have helped me with my transition to working at home and to feeling a sense of balance between my work and life.
- Getting dressed for work. There are days where I will put on what I call my work uniform: tie, slacks and a sports coat, and then go into my office and work. Being dressed helps me to frame the day. I think to myself, “OK, I am now at my desk, doing my consulting work. I just happened to be in my home office.” Being dressed to work helps with discipline and structure, two key components of being in the workforce and contributing to an overall sense of work/life balance for me.
- It’s ok to stop. I have learned to trust my intuition when I feel it’s time to stop working on a given day. Like a regular 9-5 job, there’s always more to do than time to do it in. Even with that, there are instances where I’ll think to myself, “that’s enough for today.” I’ll make my list for the next day and turn off my computer. Then it’s time to do something else, be it a job around the house, having dinner with my wife, watching t-v or going running.
- Weekends, just say no (most times). Similarly, I have learned to trust my judgment when it comes to weekends and my family life. After all, like you, I wear more hats in life beyond what I do for a living. I am a husband, an uncle and a friend. I value my family life. I also like playing basketball and have other hobbies. All of which contribute to a wider sense of purpose and balance in my life. Are there exceptions? Of course. If one of my clients has a weekend event or project scheduled, I will be there for them and for myself (I am solo practitioner after all!). However, in general, I strive to keep my weekends for other facets of my life beyond work.
I hope these tips from my own story can help those of you feeling stuck and out of synch between your PR work and your life. Please realize that this is not an uncommon feeling, particularly given the connectedness and sped up nature of how we work and live. By listening to your intuition, you can find the sweet spot of balance—a condition in which different elements are equal or in correct proportions!
Kevin Byrnes is a Communications Consultant at ByrnesPR & Media Services. His current clients include an investment banking organization and an animal pet shelter. He is a member of the Detroit PRSA chapter (national as well) and serves on the blog committee. He is also a member of the Individual Communicators Network (ICN Detroit Chapter).
Photo Credit-My “passport” photo. Made by friend Mikhail Malyshev at Golden Gate View Point, San Francisco, CA, USA circa 2009. Permission granted via attribution. Wikimedia Commons.