What exactly is work-life balance and does it exist?
Bal⋅ance | an even distribution of weight enabling someone to stand upright and steady
Anyone else ever feel like the idea of balance, when it comes to our daily life, is a very elusive concept? The idea of a perfect work-life balance is something everyone I know is striving for. With full-time jobs, side-hustles, families, friends, self-care, finding time to relax, it can seem like there is never enough time in the day.
Time, is something I struggle with. It’s always on my mind. I’ve been convinced that if I just find that perfect work-life balance, time will no longer be an issue. Finding that balance means I have time for it all.
It can feel at times as though everyone has it figured out (thank you Instagram). That everyone else has figured out how to balance their work-life. Between traveling the world, capturing the perfect pictures with their friends and family, doing every self-care routine ever created all while managing to stay completely sane through it all.
What I’ve come to realize though, is that no one has it figured out. No one has it figured out because there is no such thing as the perfect work-life balance.
Sure, we all have a different idea of what work-life balance looks like. To one person it might be working all the time because their job is their life. To others, it could be doing as little work as possible while still being able to enjoy their life to the fullest. The definition is going to vary. At the end of the day though the idea of it being perfect just doesn’t exist.
Something will always have to give. Always.
It’s a tough pill to swallow. Us women feel like we should be able to do it all. I am certainly not here to say we can’t, but we have to let go of the idea that it is going to be perfect.
Letting go of the idea that things need to be perfect, as hard as it is, makes the idea of finding that work-life balance a little easier. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be satisfied with how my time is divided up (is anyone though?). It’s never fun to have to sacrifice something you wish you had the time for. However, if it helps to bring a sense of that steadiness and calm to life, I’m willing to give it a go!
I’ve spent a lot of time this past year trying to piece everything together. Trying to figure out the best way to balance “it all”. Of course, I have a long way to go but I thought I would share some of the things that have helped me feel some sense of that elusive balance we all crave.
1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Prioritizing is probably the biggest thing when it comes to finding a sense of balance in life.
I read a book called The Productivity Project earlier this year, In the book, the author recommends picking 3 things each day that have to get done. I loved this idea because having a to-do list 50 items long always seems impossible and it probably is.
Since reading that, every night before bed to look at my to-do lists in my Evernote app. I have a running TME to-do list and a running personal to-do list. I pick three things from each list, highlight them and then I know those are my top three (6) priorities for the next day.
Seeing what I need to get done and knowing it’s doable is a huge relief. It also helps me to stay focused and motivated on what I need to do.
2. Make a Schedule
This was something I tried to avoid at all costs. I didn’t want to have to schedule my time, it just seemed super restrictive to me. However, after many failed attempts at trying to get things done when I wanted and then feeling like I had no time for anything, I knew I had to cave and just figure out a schedule. For both my sake and my husbands.
For me, I schedule what NEEDS to be done. Like I said I don’t loooove the idea of having everything planned out. However, I know if I want to be productive, putting it in a schedule works for me.
3. Notice how and why you are wasting your time
I can waste a lot of time and of course, when I waste time, I stress myself out. Which in turn makes me not want to do anything.
When I notice myself wasting time, I first look at what I’m doing. Usually, it’s scrolling Instagram or playing cell phone games (Lumosity is my weakness). I then I try to figure out why I’m avoiding whatever it is I need to do.
Usually, once I realize that I am just wasting time and that it is in no way productive, I’m able to take a step back and return to what needs to be done. Or sometimes, I look at the clock and give myself a time limit on when I can be done wasting time. It sounds funny, but it totally helps!
4. Figure out what area of life you want the most out of
This was a big aha moment for me.
My career and my relationship with my husband are where I want to continuously grow and improve upon, but I wasn’t spending my time in these two areas to the best of my ability. Well, to be exact, I was spending all my time on work and it started to take a toll on our relationship.
Saturdays are my “free” days now. I try to spend as much time with my husband on Saturday’s and as little time on social media and TME as possible.
5. Stop obsessing
This is and will probably always be the hardest part for me. I feel like finding that balance is something I’ve searched long and hard for. Now that I’m finally realizing that it doesn’t really exist, at least not that perfect balance that I felt I was striving for, I am trying to teach myself not to obsess about it too much.
Here’s the thing, at the end of the day, if something doesn’t get done, there is a really good chance it will be there tomorrow to do. As long as someone else isn’t depending upon me completing certain tasks, then it’s probably not worth stressing about.
The idea of balance or better yet, letting go of the idea of balance has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s refreshing to come to the realization that the perfect balance doesn’t exist, but it’s also hard to just snap out that mindset.
I think it is something we will all probably always look for, but knowing it isn’t the answer is a little freeing, to be honest.