… AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD
Work life balance. Reading that short phrase may have caused you to tense up, send your mind into a spin or exhale in frustration. And it’s no wonder.
In our crazy fast paced driven world today this is a topic that never goes away. You don’t have to look far to find an abundance of articles online that tell you the importance of work life balance and many more that tell you what you should do to get it.
But should you be striving for it and do you really need it?
I think we can all agree with the experts that the never ending work day is damaging to our relationships, creativity, health and overall happiness.
We all have the same 168 hours each week.
The more hours we work the less time we have for everything else. So it’s easy to see that working more takes time away from the other areas of our life.
With this in mind, do you find yourself wondering how you can find work life balance?
Before you start organising your schedule + calendar, trying to find this elusive balance, which I personally think is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I ask you …
Could the pursuit of work life balance be keeping you from having the freedom in life you seek?
Let’s take a step back, and consider this question as we look at the bigger picture.
When we first moved into our 40 year old high set Queensland style home, we had a lot of stuff, especially as I work from home, my husband is a musician and we had a young family.
Our “new” little house had very limited storage. One bedroom had a built in wardrobe, there was a single cabinet under the handbasin in the bathroom and a small selection of lower kitchen cabinets. That was it. There was no pantry, linen cupboard, or any other storage options anywhere else in the house.
So I set out to “containerise” our stuff. I bought bookcases, storage shelves + units for each of the rooms for our belongings, to fit it all in. Good thing we had a large enclosed garage for the extra stuff 😉
Our family can’t be the only ones who’ve approached organising our homes this way otherwise there wouldn’t be such a huge stores such as Howards Storage World and Ikea.
In hindsight the better approach would have been to take a moment, ask ourselves how we want to use this space and then bring in items to support the kind of life we wanted to live.
Many people do the same thing with their schedules. They try to fit it all in. All in an effort to find work life balance.
Trying to find work life balance is a distraction. It keeps you from living the life you are desperately seeking. Your time is spent managing all your activities, rather than focusing on what really matters.
Instead of trying to “containerise” your tasks and activities, to fit it all in like you do your stuff, ask yourself, “What kind of life are these tasks and activities helping me create?”
With this new perspective, your effort in trying to get work life balance changes to create a life of purpose.
As you start to see which activities, commitments or projects are not supporting your goals, you can let go of them, clearing your schedule for the ones that do.
Now you can spend less energy managing your schedule and use your time to do the things that are truly important. With this new found freedom you can live on your terms.
Thankfully our family has learnt to do that, and to revisit this question each time we enter a new season of life.
I’ve learnt that to really enjoy life + create a happy one, you need to let go of the old and give room for the now.
Chasing work life balance is like living in the past, managing the things you should have done, or waiting to live in the future. When I get this or that done, then I can …
Either way it’s not really living.
True work life balance is found by integrating, or fusing the different parts of your life together into one of meaning and passion. It’s doing the things that fuel us, that help us become who we want to be and create the kind of life we want to live.
It’s a shift of perspective from finding balance to living with purpose.
Living this way takes guts and courage because it means focusing on what’s important in that moment and forgetting about all the other things.
The rewards for living courageously are abundant!
You’ll have more energy to put into activities that fuel you. Time becomes your friend, rather than a hard task master. And freedom, we’ll who doesn’t want to live life on their terms, instead of being driven by other people’s expectations and demands.
For me it means giving more of my time and attention to our son at assessment and exam time. I treasure the opportunity I have in that moment of being involved in his schooling. It means not working on the weekends and making time for rest and family. It means turning off distractions when it’s work time so I can get what I need to done in the time allocated.
Is everything in balance?
No, because my responsibilities don’t get equal time or attention. I’m not trying to fit in a bunch of stuff that I don’t have time for right now.
And yes, because what needs my attention in that moment has me. And more importantly, because what I’m doing has purpose, it aligns with my goals, it energises me. Even on the challenging days I have a joy that is deeper than my immediate circumstances.
Tips to help you FUSElife
have more energy, time + freedom to live a life you enjoy :
- Have weekly meetings at home and work
- Book important life events in your calendar before deciding on work commitments
- Include your family in your work and share what’s happening, as appropriate ask for their opinion + feedback (I’ve learnt some good stuff from listening to my son’s perspective)
- Schedule time for fun
- Have time for yourself on a regular basis
- Create a time map of your ideal week
- Plan your day the night before
I encourage you to stop chasing work life balance and create a life with more energy, time and freedom to live life on your terms, one that you enjoy living.