So many of us are searching for a good work-life balance! Why is it that some people seem to be able to manage it all? They have a great career, spend lots of time vacationing with their family, seem to be in great physical condition, have strong long lasting relationships…. We all know them. What’s their secret? I’m going to venture a guess and say since you’ve opened this article that you’re thinking “they’ve mastered the art work-life balance”.
You couldn’t be more wrong. I want you to picture in your mind (or just refer to the featured picture for this article) to a justice scale. On the left, you have your work. On the right, you have your life. The truth is they will never balance.
Work-Life balance does not and will never exist.Stay with me. What I’m about to tell you may change your life!
Here’s why there will never be a work-life balance. Your work is a part of your life. It could never be equal to your life. Our lives consist of a many, many components. Many lives contain relationships with a significant other, relationships with children, siblings, parents, aunts uncles, grandparents, and friends. Life includes hobbies, extra circular activities with children, homework, physical fitness, entertainment, spiritual development, and mental wellness. Our lives should include self-care and caring for others.
When you think of all the facets of “life” the thought of work being equal to that of life is ludicrous. Yet, day in and day out we search for work-life balance.
So back to one of my original questions. What’s their secret? It’s a very simple one. It’s work-life integration. While it’s simple most people will never achieve it. Why? Because you must change your mindset. You must let go of the old “when I’m at work I’m only doing work”.
If you truly want to have a life filled with doing the things you enjoy most you must integrate your work into your life.
Let go of the 9-5 philosophy! Who said we must work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day? More and more people are demanding and searching for work that provides a quality of life, not just a paycheck. According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workforce, 61% of people are looking for an opportunity with a new organization to “do what they do best with a purpose”. It outranked pay by 4 times!
Seek out an employer or organization that promotes integrating life into work, one that encourages it’s team members to call during “work” hours to make appointments for their children, one that encourages taking time each day for physical fitness, one that encourages results based pay rather than hourly based pay, one that provides autonomy for you to create your “work” time, and one that allows you to access your natural strengths.
The choice is yours.
Choose your priorities. Too often we want to be great at in everything. We want the best spouse, the best homemaker, the best parent, the best employee, the best looking. We want to sit on all the advisory boards, volunteer until the world is saved, be the free cab service for all the parents who aren’t there to tote the children to and from activities. The truth is it is your life. You only get one.
You have to choose what you do with the limited time you have here on earth. If you are always complaining “I work too much”. Maybe it’s time to look for a new employer. Maybe it’s time to make a trade. Is living in a house that requires you to spend 8 hours a week of your life commuting allow you to live your life? Does your employer offer an opportunity to telecommute? Would buying a new less expensive some give you more time with your family? If you don’t have enough time with your family what are you willing to trade? Your income for a less demanding job? Your position on the local nonprofit organization?
Stop saying no!
I know what you’re thinking. “I need to LEARN to say no!” Trust me. You say no to countless things every day. You’re not even aware that you’re doing it. Every time you say yes to something you are saying no to another. For example, when your customer asks you to stay late and you agree. You’ve said yes to your customer while simultaneously saying no to something else. You may have just said no to time to cook and have dinner with your family. Maybe you said no to going to the gym. It may have been no to reading your favorite book. You may have said no to the balance you so desire for your life.
So, the next time someone asks for your time before you say yes ask yourself what that yes means saying no to. I guaranty you will immediately begin to feel more balanced when you chose what you are going to do with your time. If time management is a challenge for you The Top 6 Time Management Strategies That are Proven to work! is a must read to have a balanced life!
Therefore, if you want to live a meaningful purposeful balanced life you must decide what that means to you, prioritize, stop saying no, and then make any and every change to achieve it. And stop the work-life balance craziness!