We hear it. Shoot we say it all the time, right? I want… I need… more work-life balance.
And when one tries to define it, what does it sound like? Loving the work you do, the amount of time you put in, but also loving your home life and the time you spend there… the best of both worlds, right?
But what is the “right” formula? What is the “right” amount of time? How much do you give to both areas to feel at peace all around?
What I find, at least for myself personally, is when I try to tackle the issue by reallocating my time… I end up falling flat. Not failing to allocate the time, but not necessarily feeling “balanced” afterwards. In contrary, I have felt conflicted, sometimes bored, and quite frankly still mentally out of balance.
For me, when I hear some of the common solutions to this worldly struggle, I cringe! They don’t work… for me.
Now, if you have found your sweet spot of contentment with any of the below scenarios, I am so incredibly happy for you! Your values are being met, you feel balanced, and it is a BEAUTIFUL thing! But if you’re like me and these typical solutions don’t work for your crazy needs, then I’m hoping you can relate. So many of the common solutions to creating a better work-life balance left me completely unsatisfied. In other words, quite Meh!
Like this one… “Take a job with less responsibility, so you can leave your work at work”. Wow! That sounds great to me… for like a month. Not that I want to crank work out until the wee hours of the night, only to never feel caught up… But like seriously, if I was able to “leave my work at work”, that would mean I was able to complete all assignments within the hours of the job… soooo, I equate this to task-driven, mundane, “Ground Hog Day” (you know the movie) types of work. And while that may be the bees-knees for some… it is mental torture for me! Like for real.
Or how about… “Go part time. Do the challenging work, just less often”. Score! Again, maybe six months of ideal time-balance in my eyes…. And then I see stagnation, less financial flexibility and death to my growth. I know…. DRAMATIC much!?! But seriously, I am over the moon excited for my colleagues who have found their perfect balance here, but it’s just not my thing.
And what about… “Eh, just grind it out now! You can enjoy your retirement later.” Seriously? (with the largest eye roll ever) No thank you. Enough said.
But enough with the no thank you solutions….
In my opinion, the path to loving it all, work-life and home-life, is in embracing the imbalance of it all.
Think about it… You’re blissful when on a beach vacation, right? And on the opposite side of the spectrum, your vibes are high when you just killed it on a work project. So why not, EMBRACE IT! Now I’m not saying, don’t do anything about it, get over it, too bad your unhappy… but rather, re-frame the situation in your mind and the focus you’re giving each area of your life.
I believe that if we can embrace the craziness of it all and give 100% of ourselves to each area of our lives… when we are IN that specific area… we can find that happiness in the imbalance of it all.
The key is when you are in that moment, focused on that zone, it must receive all of your energy…physical, mental and emotional.
Which brings us to another really important part of balancing show, the third act you might say. Stop considering the two buckets “Work” and “Family”… there are THREE BUCKETS, work responsibilities, family(home) responsibilities, and self-care. If your spiritual self-care bucket isn’t refilled on a regular basis, you can bet the energy you have to give to other two areas of your life is going to be minimal at best. So, make time for yourself too… and when you are in it… be IN it! Not multitasking, not thinking about what else you should be doing, in the zone of refilling you!
Now, time allocation is a fine thing, and may work for some, but what I found, in being a high achiever, wanting to always be on the go and craving massive personal growth, the idea of shifting “time” wasn’t the answer…. The answer was shifting my “energy”. All in. Wherever I am for that moment. Present.
And there in those moments, regardless of the overall time imbalance, lies the beauty of feeling fulfilled and content in the moment.