Finding Balance Between Independence, Productivity and Happiness
During the last couple of years, more and more people seem to notice that the work-life balance has been in a constant decline. According to a 2013 study, which was carried out by Glassdoor, most employees would describe their work-life balance satisfaction as mediocre. Are you happy with your job?
I’m sure many of you are connected with your work 24/7. Your routine consists of checking your emails often (regardless of the time of the day), working on weekends and vacations even. I’m not proposing that this is wrong – after all, this is the lifestyle we’ve chosen – but, in my modest opinion, the key to it all is finding balance between independence, productivity and happiness.
I. Your Independence in the Gig Economy
When it comes to work, the future lies in project-based and freelance jobs. Nowadays, you get to be your own boss, not to mention you get to work on projects from all over the world. It is solely up to you to decide how much you need to earn in order to live a happy life.
Many people I know are working backwards (so to say). They calculate how much money they need to cover all expenses so that they could finally live the life they’ve always wanted. This normally includes travelling, vacationing or simply spending time with loved ones in lovely places.
In a gig economy, we have more time to find and pursue ways which will lead to fulfilment. We get to learn a new skill or sport etc. However, we may need to spend a weekend or a holiday working, but does it really matter then?
In such an economy, the real question is: how to lead an independent and successful life?
Create a personal website/portfolio
Creating a personal website can be pretty easy. You can use it as your portfolio, as your blog or your CV. Use it as a means for building your online identity and brand, which will consequently prove your expertise. Or you can use your personal website for building a community around your hobby, passion or side project.
Whether you’re looking to build a full-blown site, or just a simple landing page, here are some services that will help you brand your online self—the way you want to—in no time:
If you want to create a personal webpage by yourself, here is a Codecademy Lesson on how to do this.
Organise your life
Don’t expect to change your life completely in a month or two. For starters, you can identify 3 to 4 key goals you wish to achieve, and break them down into action steps on your calendar. Analyse what you are doing and optimise your performance where it’s possible.
Here are some apps I’m currently using to organise my life:
If you need more ideas on how to organise your life, check out this Zen Habits article:
Find your tribe
People whom you spend most of your time with have a large impact on your life.
Your thoughts impact your life immensely, nurture your growth mindset.
Meetup is one way to find local communities to join. Work in co-working spaces, go out of the building and talk to people. Beautiful things happen outside of your comfort zone.
There are tons of articles on productivity. What I would like to do is consider productivity from another perspective. One of my favourite quotes is: “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.”
What I see behind this is that in order to be productive, we need to be in a peaceful state of mind. When we have a clear view on our present situation, on the goals we want to achieve and on how to achieve them, we are able to be productive.
But what is even more important is to know the reasons behind our current situation and the motives encouraging us to move forward.
How can you do that?
- Discover how taking a few moments out of your day can make you happier and healthier – Calm
- Develop and apply kindness and compassion in your daily life – Stop, Breathe & Think
Don’t forget your body is a machine. Take care of it, both physically and mentally. Eat healthy, stay hydrated, sleep and exercise regularly, think positively, learn new things every day. Try to get out of your comfort zone from time to time.
If you somehow still need to add more hours to your day, here are some great productivity tools to help you. Your time is valuable, use it to do the things that will move your life and world forward.
And remember: Your brain works best 2-4 hours from the moment you wake up. Use this time wisely. Depending on your sleeping cycle, you can do a power nap after your lunch break. That way you will have your brain at its peak again in the afternoon.
Also, have a do-nothing time. Sometimes nothing is something worth doing.
If you’re not happy with yourself, you won’t be happy just because you’re spending time with someone else or somewhere else. You might be for a short period of time, but this is not true happiness, and it will fade eventually.
What you need to keep in mind is the following: if you’re healthy, have a roof over your head and food on your plate, you have enough to be happy about than most people.
It is only when we move up the Maslow hierarchy of needs that life becomes more complicated! And this is where you take over.
“Always take the job, pursue the life, have the friends, that allow you to have as much freedom as possible. Do the best you can each day. If you don’t know what that means, you have to figure that out for yourself.” – James Altucher