Can a sense of ‘work-life balance’ really improve your wellbeing? Chartered Psychologist and founder of ELAR Horizons, Dr Lucy Rattrie, reflects on the meaning of work-life balance, and the difference it can make to the challenges of business travel. She tests out her own methods while in Hong Kong, and shares a few pointers from her personal workbook.
Work-life balance… or is it life-work balance?
I spent a recent flight to Hong Kong, wide awake, contemplating this. What does balance mean? How do you achieve it? Is it a double-edged sword? I love the glamour of Hong Kong trips. I love the travel, the exploration.
But I also love coming home to routine.
Indeed, business travel brings challenges that interfere with your energy, engagement and effectiveness, whether that’s through family, routine, health, how you feel day in day out, decision making, the way you view yourself, or what you are doing.
If managed properly however, it can be a wonderfully positive experience, creating down time, flexibility, a chance to think (all those flights…) and a perfect opportunity to open yourself up to new experiences.
For me, it’s all about holistic balance between the body, mind, heart and soul – that’s peak physical condition, a positive mind-set, happy heart and living each day with passion. It’s about personal balance in a world of 24/7 action, jet lag, time zones, balancing those spinning plates, eating well, iron-man training, and making sure my prescribed fun at triathlon club is in there.
I spent the return trip working through each of these four key areas, feeling invigorated with all the strategies and actions I could use to create lasting change and maintain that balance – my personal happiness and success workbook!
Let me share some pointers from my personal workbook:
1.When I arrived in Hong Kong, I decided my number 1 priority was to get my health in order after the long flight – essential to be able to do my job, the whole purpose of the trip! I generally know what works for me, but I am also aware it needs revising and fine tuning from time to time, so tried new things (around nutrition, sleep, and activity) to give me the energy needed to make a good impression. Fine-tuning, revising and practising ways to feel good in your body is important.
2. I find working in different cultures, especially somewhere like Hong Kong, interesting, challenging and inspiring all at the same time. I am there to give it my full attention; after all, that’s half of the work-life balance thing! We are faced with millions of decisions each day and it’s about choosing the best ones. For me, this trip was about being switched on when I needed to be, achieving success, then switched off when I wanted to be. I spent an evening eating dinner alone (a healthy one, of course!) reflecting in my personal workbook how I could make that happen and be most effective in these situations.
3. I love soaking up the vibe of a different place and as I was really focused on my training, took myself running along Lantau and the Hong Kong trail. What a wonderful thing to do before my working day kicked off, running with a beautiful view as the sun comes up! It can be a bit daunting being a woman in a different place, so safety is paramount and I am guilty of sticking to the gym as a result. I promised myself that, in the future, I won’t do the usual flitter between airports, offices and hotels, instead turning it into my own personal adventure – now that’s a true experience to keep me engaged in life and work! Find what will make you smile and create a lasting memory in the bank of life-work balance. It’s about applying the right strategy to find your personal adventure within each trip – finding happiness.
4. I also found this trip was so hectic that I was struggling to find ‘me time’. On my last day, I hiked to the top of Sunset Peak and sat in the evening sun for 15 minutes. The round trip was only 3 hours, but perfect timing before my overnight flight back. It was also good to get my legs moving and inhale some fresh air before the cabin pressure! Just because I was travelling for business, didn’t mean I would sacrifice myself, and I realised how important ‘me time’ is. I then gave attention to my personal workbook to make sure I am effective when I need to be and have the right plan in place, creating the right habits.
What can you do?
The most successful people are happy; they are energised, engaged and effective. You can work towards balance and fulfilment – achieved through self-awareness – and get the process exact.
I coach people to use their emotional intelligence, apply strengths, be truly motivated by their values, and improve their mind-set to be positive. Within one session, results are noticed with the power of a unique psychological profiling system.
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Find your way to work-life balance today. Let’s start creating your personal workbook for success!
Dr Lucy Rattrie is a Chartered Psychologist and founder of ELAR Horizons. As a specialist for improving energy, engagement and effectiveness of business travellers, she helps people become successful through happiness. Her coaching and development enables people to achieve fulfillment, balance and process to better manage themselves, environments and interactions, thriving with the challenges brought from life on the road. People notice improvements personally and professionally in positive thinking and smart decision making, behaviours around healthy lifestyle, work-life balance, stress management, motivation, relationships, communication, and confidence.