Stop Chasing The Work-Life Balance. Here’s What To Do Instead.
The work-life balance is outdated. Maybe outdated is the wrong word, it's possible it has never really been a 'thing'. If you've fallen victim to this falsehood, then this post is for you!
The Problem With The Work-Life Balance
Everyone always talks about how work-life balance is the key to it all. All the experts say it’s so simple, but how come we have so little people actually achieving this so called “balance”?
So why the heck doesn’t this concept work?
For starters, it implies that there are only two important things and that’s your work and your life. For obvious reasons, this is not true.
It also implies that work is separate from your life. It pits them against each other. Holding the belief that your work and your life should compete against either for equal amounts of time insinuates that your work is not a meaningful part of your life. By its very nature work is a part of life, and for some it’s a very big part of it. That is totally fine, actually, as long as it’s a conscious and intentional choice.
Constantly seeking and stressing over mastering the balance of work and life limits us in life. Instead of empowering us, it limits us in our capabilities. It puts us in an “either/or” mindset where we can EITHER do this OR that. Not both.
When it comes to work-life balance, it's all about how we frame it. And up until now, we’ve had it all wrong. Instead of keeping these things separately and feeling like it needs to be in constant balance, we need to learn to blend them together.
Introducing: The Blend
All it is is a simple blend of all your priorities. Someday there may be a little more of this and other days might be a little more of that. There is no need to balance. Just blend as you see fit.
This is an empowering mindset. It allows us to lead the “and” life instead of the “either/or”. You can do this AND this. Just blend them together.
The most important thing is to make a conscious and intentional decision about how much of “our all” we want spent on our career, our family, our health, finding the one we love, reading, enjoying our hobbies, etc and then just do it. We must make these decisions quickly and without guilt. It’s going to look different every day since our priorities are a little different each day.
Just as the work-life balance, the blend is subjective and is completely based on your life. You are the only person who can evaluate your success with this concept.
How To Master The Work-Life Blend
1. Establish your priorities.
Your priorities may be things like yourself, loved ones, religion or spirituality, volunteering, adventures, career, etc. Make a list of 4-6 (you shouldn’t have any more that that) and keep them handy, better yet, memorize them and tell your loved ones. Another awesome tip is to up them in order of most important to least important. If you’re not in a good place with your first priority then it makes it harder to be in a good place with whatever follows.
2. Establish a list of non-negotiables for each priority.
What are the non-negotiable things you must do for your priorities? These are the things you MUST do (or do at least 90% of the time) for your priorities to be in a good and thriving place. Some examples may be one date night per week, leave the office at 6pm, go to church every Sunday, meditate each morning, have one adventure each week, etc.
3. Schedule time in your calendar for your non-negotiables.
And make them non-negotiable.
4. Find a happy blend.
(A happy blend isn’t definable, it’s just whatever that looks like to you.) It's completely natural that things will come out of alignment a little and that's completely okay, but you need to make sure that you strive for a happy blend. Regularly check in with yourself to make sure that you are achieving that.
5. Give yourself some freedom and leniency. It’s a journey.
Know that periodically you'll need to check in and course-correct if needed. Things are always changing in life and so our priorities. Our schedule, our purpose, our time and our energy will always change too. Don't beat yourself up. For the times you aren’t in a happy blend, just stop for a moment take a few deep breaths and just go through these exercises again. Make some small adjustments and tweaks as needed and go on your merry way!