In the past year I’ve had a particularly difficult time finding work-life balance. I was caught between the challenges of starting up Pogon while simultaneously completing my MBA studies.

At one point I decided to make a sacrifice and cut down on the things that make me happy in order to get things done. A brilliant plan. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. After a few months on this new “no fun” diet, I felt exhausted, unhappy, and completely burned out. And the entire office smelt it.

So I went to my thinking place for a long introspection. The result was a simple conclusion: do not scratch the things you love from your “to do” list.

As I was getting back in the work game, I noticed everyone in the office has their “thing” — that one activity or formula that helps them blow off steam, chill and recharge, so they can jump back to work and be productive.

Pogon family jams with Oti

It turned out everyone is divided in three groups of people and activities, I’ll point these out as a simple reference to find yourself in one of them. Or figure out your own, as long as it’s there when you need it to boost and recalibrate your path to productivity.

  1. Gamers — this is the largest group in our team. Jimmy, Bojan, Bane, Mario and Dame are all big on gaming, and I mean BIG. When I first started in Pogon, coming from a corporate world and structure – this was very confusing to me. But then some time passed, did some closer observation, read couple of studies, even saw infographics such as this one, it became clear to me that it’s not only relaxing for them (even though they yell a lot), it’s a real team activity that bonds and brings all members closer.
  2. Audiophiles — these guys get their therapy through the sweet sound of music. Since there is always an instrument kicking around the office, it quickly becomes irresistible to Bane or Dime not to tinker with. Then there is Isak, the real band front-man and his electric guitar blasting the same reef over and over again until it sounds perfect? It always sounds the same to me, but it’s great to know he is actually practicing his brain and not just being annoying.This TED video explains it a lot better than me.
  3. Mountain men — and women! Is the group I belong to, along with Josip, Isak and occasionally Dame. Having a strong connection with nature can be hard to handle when you live in the city. Hiking, cycling, camping, jogging are all the things that make this group happy and productive. A study featured in Harvard Business Review writes about how simply gazing at nature can make us more productive and improve our attention span. The author explains: “Gazing at natural environments provides you with an opportunity to replenish your stores of attention control. That’s really important, because they’re a limited resource that we’re constantly tapping.”

Can you recognise yourself in one of these groups? Have one of your own? These coping mechanisms, boosting rituals or happiness diets vary from person to person, identify yours soon, stick to it, and I guarantee you results that don’t smell burnt.

Photos: Bobi R. & Lilika S.