October 7 to 11 is National Work Life week. Although the focus is on working families, there are some takeaways for those of us working in bid environments, where the concept of a work/life balance can feel like the ultimate troll. As bid professionals, we are so driven to ensure wins for our clients or employers that down time, or self-care, is the first thing to go out of the window. I speak from bitter experience when I say this is a mistake.

Preventing burn-out 

Being freelance has enabled me to gain more balance and prevent burn-out – cooking from scratch, swimming regularly and getting into the hills for a hike as often as I can. Brain rest is as important as physical rest in my view and I have done a lot of work over the past 18 months implementing and sticking to boundaries by not responding to emails or phone calls in the evening, unless it’s prearranged. I also switch off my laptop and deliberately do something else, even if it’s just watching TV!

This summer was exceptionally busy, with three really major pieces of work that required more than a few 14-hour days, but to counterbalance this, I made sure that September was quieter and I went to Scotland for a few weeks. I have come back feeling refreshed and ready to meet the demands of a full diary until Christmas.

Technological solutions 

Over the past couple of months, I have been learning more about the impact that technology will have on the bidding environment, including project management tools, information libraries and programmes to reduce graphic design re-work. Having said this, I am yet to really see a technological solution to reduce the writing burden, so I’m interested to see whether a solution for this crops up at some point.

What about you? 

Do you feel like you have a good work/life balance? Do you recognise the signs when you need to re-assess? Have you got any advice on how to do this? I’m sure other bid people would love to hear your ideas, tips and tricks.

You can find out more about Work Life Week on its website