Can an app really help you switch off at the end of the day and find a better work-life balance, I think it can:
As students go I’m quite busy; I sit on my university’s student council as well as many other boards and committees, I volunteer for a charity and I work – gaining practical experience to support my studies and boost my employment prospects.
With all this going on I sometimes find it difficult to separate my work from my home life, it all rolls in to one sleep deprived slog.
It’s a problem lots of students face, and as I (and many others) prepare to return to university to begin final year in September I felt it was time to address it.
I started reading blog posts and articles in the evenings, many that made bold claims about achieving a better work-life balance.
I was sceptical about a lot of what I read. It seemed to be what older generations might call ‘mumbo-jumbo’ and what I might use slightly coarser language to describe!
I did however stumble upon one post on LinkedIn that caught my eye – a list of 15 successful businesspeople and the tips they had for finding ways to better compartmentalise the various parts of their lives. One of these 15, and I forget who, spoke of an interesting app called Headspace so I thought I’d give it a try.
Headspace, which describes itself as anything from a ‘digital health platform’ to a ‘meditation made easy’ app has, despite my scepticism, made a noticeable difference to my day.
The app is free and comes preloaded with ‘Take Ten’, a programme where the user is guided through 10 minute sessions, one each day, over the course of ten days – after that the various packages are subscription only. But it’s not expensive, in fact it’ll cost you no more per month than a Netflix account.
The sessions, though brief, have helped me to calm the maelstrom of my mind and declutter my thoughts as well as improving my attention span and ability to focus on the task at hand rather than everything else going on.
Never having tried anything like this before – or even entertaining the idea of doing so – I was surprised by just how much of a difference it seems to have made, with one close friend remarking last week, “you look a lot younger than when I last saw you!”
While its creators suggest you use the app in the mornings, I’ve found it works best for me on returning home from work in the early evening. I get in, have a quick drink of water and begin finding that headspace.
By using it at this time of day, I find I get a better night’s sleep and it also gives me a clear separation between the office and the home, with the countless unnecessary thoughts that had been floating around the mind in the day disappearing into nothingness.
I wouldn’t imagine this will work for, or even appeal to everyone trying to find that elusive work-life balance, but if you are facing a similar quandary I’d say give it – or something similar – a go.
I found Headspace just by reading a few articles online, and by spending just 10-15 minutes a day using it I’ve noticed a big difference. I’d think with a couple of Google searches and a bit of a browse everyone could find something that worked for them.
If you have struggled to switch off after work or university in the past and have found something that helps (especially if it’s Headspace), I’d love to hear from you – tweet me or post it in the comments section below.
A version of this article first appeared on Student Wire, where the author is a contributor, on July 28, 2014.