I’m missing my weekly dates with the television show Big Bang Theory, mostly because I miss Sheldon, with whom I am truly, madly, deeply in love, (just as I am in love with Niles, the ultra-butch brother in Frasier – if forced to choose between them, it would be hard, but I think you know what I’m saying when I cry: “Bazinga!”) but at least the promise of a new series next year is something to celebrate.
Or is it? Wasn’t the comedic structure of many of this year’s episodes based on tensions and misunderstandings caused by the women having jobs and wanting to progress their careers, the ambitious little minxes? Honestly, will us ladies never learn? Probably not, so here’s my own particular guide to striking the right work-life balance…
* There’s a nifty little app called Awesome Note. It lets you create a list of things you need to do throughout the day, the week, or even the month (please note that unfortunately, it doesn’t do them for you). Set an alarm to remind you when you have a meeting or an appointment coming up or, equally important, when it’s wine o’clock.
* Forget multi-tasking. Although we gals can generally juggle with one hand tied behind our backs, it’s not actually in our interest to focus on many things at the same time. Instead, devote your full attention to the task at hand. When you’re working, work. When you’re spending time with your family, friends and cats, focus solely on them.
* Social media means everyone is around, around the clock but it is, in fact, perfectly possible to walk away from Facebook for a few days and find, on your return, everything is still exactly as it was before. That is, your friends and colleagues are still posting pictures of their respective pets, dinners and children. You’ll have missed nothing.
* Firmly diarise important family events, like your Goddaughter’s school play, for example, as you wouldn’t want to miss the excellent entertainment provided by the one child who spends the entire performance picking their nose, forgetting their lines and having a volcanic tantrum as a finale .
* Always draw a line between your home and your job, although, if you’re a certain sort of working girl, there can’t be any harm in bringing a little work home, and it probably makes more economic sense than renting a room in Hotel 81.
* To reward yourself for good work, make time to do one thing you look forward to each day. Have lunch or coffee with a friend or colleague, go to an exhibition, or go for reflexology. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming, complicated, or expensive. Just put aside time on your work schedule to read a book, take a walk, or just have some quiet time.
* If the chap in your life isn’t as helpful with the chores as you’d like, there are three main solutions: 1) Wear a large badge saying, “If you think pixies empty the washing machine in the middle of the night, you’re very much mistaken, matey.” You may even want to write it on your forehead. Better still, write it on his. 2) Undetectable poisons. 3) Tampering with his car brakes. However, according to the University of Washington’s Adrienne Fairhall, you should try to be understanding. His brain is most likely to blame. She pithily posits that men’s inability to do stuff around the house is “not universally but statistically significantly gender-characteristic and is not to be attributed to personal failings.” So there you have it.
* If you feel you’re losing your work-life balance, quickly hold on to something to steady yourself. (I once felt my work-life balance going while I was in Cold Storage, and hung on to an individual pot of raspberry yoghurt until the dizziness had passed. Imagine, though, if I’d been riding a WaveBoard? I shudder to think.)
* Keep track of your lifestyle. Lack of sleep, too much grab ’n’go food and not enough wine can mean you feel a lack of balance in your life, and can also counteract any of the handy tips above.