Getting in balance is not so much about adopting new strategies to change your behaviors, as it is about realigning yourself in all of your thoughts so as to create a balance between what you desire and how you conduct your life on a daily basis. Wayne Dyer
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The work life balance conundrum…
A few years back, maybe more than a few 😉, companies started talking about work-life balance. Top leadership gurus added it to their talk tracks. Yet, As time marched forward, more and more employees had less and less work-life balance due to a growing demand of “always on” and working globally.
The more we talked about it, the more out of balance I felt. Someone was always working somewhere in the world and emails, texts, tweets, Facebook, and well every other type of e-tool, was pinging my attention.
For those of us hustling to build a career, this just exacerbated the situation. It also caused me a lot of stress because I believed it was achievable, however, I couldn’t find a way. I was failing which weighed on me greatly. As I shared last week, being a workaholic only added to my frenzy to stay ahead, be relevant and put my personal life on a low simmer on the back burner, awaiting the day I figured it out.
I am amazed my husband was so chill about it. He works a lot too, building his career, so maybe it was how we both looked at being supportive of each other 🤷♀️.
And then one day…
It took me a long time to get to the point where I stepped back, reframed my perspective and started to think of work life balance very differently.
I had been setting this unrealistic expectation on myself and holding myself to an external cultural business expectations that screamed at me “ your failing because you can’t figure out this work life balance thing” . I would read stories on successful business leaders getting up early and making time to work out, meditate, spend time with family and here I was praying for 5 extra minutes of sleep, an extra hour in a day and a few minutes of alone time.
When I stopped to think about it, I needed to have a different goal. One that allowed me to better integrate work and life, finding work life integration, not balance. Balance was too much of an unrealistic concept got me.
I started to think deeply about balancing. When you balance yourself, you teeter and totter, shifting your weight (try tree pose and you will see what I mean 😉). You strive to stay in balance and through the micro weight shifts you attain balance. (Trying not to fall over 😳)
Work life integration seemed like the perfect start to correcting my course and achieving a goal of more quality time with family and friends. I really wanted to make more space in my life.
A few tips….
Work anywhere: With the always on technology, you also can work anywhere. No longer did I have to work at my desk until late on a deadline. I could come home, have dinner with my husband, and then work after.
Find the pocket: In your day look for the micro pockets where you can add some walking, mediation or feeding your mind. In last weeks post, I shared how I found time to walk, mediate and listen to audio books and podcasts to feed the ol’ bean! It helps me keep a good balanced perspective on all that is going on around me.
Prioritize what matters: Friday’s are date night period. Unless the world is under attack or there is a major (like building falling down major) issue at work, I schedule myself out and offline. This is extended to my staff. I don’t call them after hours or on their vacation unless it is critical def con 5 critical.
Switch to you first: I have started arriving 30 minutes later in the morning. You read it right, later!! This is to give myself “me time” in the morning to walk and meditate before work (see last week on self care). I still arrive early at 8:00 am, however I am grounded and fully engaged when I arrive.
Schedule time: I have plans set once or twice a week with my friends, family and networking. I schedule them in like a business meeting. That way I am integrating it into my full life.
Be present: I strive to be present in the moment I am in.
Here’s the thing, I still fail in striving to find work life integration. There are some weeks I flat out get pulled under, but the key is now I recognize it early and course correct. I also have an amazing spouse that keeps me honest and grounded. He reminds me when I am leaning to far out of balance. Sure there will always be times when I have to lean in more in my career and I never give less than 1000% on anything I do. I am an all in kinda gal, however, to achieve that consistently, I have to be balanced.
Give yourself a break. Work life balance is super hard to achieve. Work life integration seems a bit easier to me because it sets a mindset of the ebb and flow of our lives. When we integrate our whole lives, and frankly give ourselves a break from trying to be perfect, we can be a lot happier.
Women and men have a lot on their plates, personally and professionally. Raising families, running a small business called family household, attending work and family events, taking care of others, getting the job done, traveling, and a host of a million other things that leave us all exhausted at times.
We are whole beings, not one thing or another. We are wonderfully unique and amazing. To have a richer life, give yourself a break.
Laugh more, be present in the moment and know that you set the pace of what you want in life and the way you want to live it.