Hello dear readers!
Today we are officially half way through the 2015 – making it kind of like the mother of all hump-days. Today is also my birthday so I’ve given myself the day off blogging and instead have asked a lovely friend of mine, Robyna from The Mummy and the Minx, to write a post about something most of us battle with – work/life balance.
Hope the second half of your year is awesome 🙂
Rachel – Ed.
Somewhere along the way the idea of work-life balance stopped being something that helped us feel less overwhelmed and started being a kind of holy-grail for us all to aspire to.
I have yet to meet the woman who says she has achieved work-life balance and I am yet to meet the man who views it in those terms. It was a concept designed to make our lives simpler but instead it has led to increased pressure. Feeling overwhelmed? Juggling too many balls? Well, best get your work/life balance in order.
But what does it even mean? How is work separate to living? How is living separate to work? And for those not engaged in paid work, is their life lop-sided with no counter-balance?
Here’s the thing: I want a life where I have an enriching career that doesn’t consume me.
I want to spend time with my family and be able to focus exclusively on them without my thoughts wandering to work. I want enough sleep. I want to spend time with my friends and extended family. I want to exercise and be healthy. I want to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. I wouldn’t mind a clean house. But I do not believe that I can pursue all those things to their full extent, one hundred percent of the time. No matter how much I try to get the balance right.
The concept of work-life balance encourages the idea that if we just managed our time better we would find balance.
We all want more time. We all need more time. But all the organisation charts, schedules, diaries, and spreadsheets in the world aren’t going to give me another hour in the day.
What will give me more time is being realistic about my capacity and saying no. I hate saying no.
I have a terrible fear of missing out coupled with an unrealistic desire to not “let people down”. That leads me to saying yes more often than I should. The other day I had to say no. I knew that I literally had no time left in my month. You know what? The world did not end. The person asking was disappointed, but they don’t hate me as a result. And I haven’t over-committed myself.
Too often I feel on the edge of panic, that one of the balls I am juggling is perilously close to dropping. I could lessen the number of balls or I could just ease up on myself. I could care less about what people think. I could come to accept that I might disappoint people and be okay with that. I could let go of the idea that people are constantly judging me. I could let go of perfection. I could stop being my own harshest critic and a constant source of pressure.
Maybe the key to work life balance is to just be aware of our limits, be practical with our expectations (of ourselves and others) and stop pressuring ourselves to achieve the prefect “balance” in our lives. The power of giving yourself a break should not be underestimated!