Yep, back at it again with the work-life balance conversation.
Many of us are trying to find that magical place in life where everything fits perfectly into our 24 hour days and we spend an even number of hours on work and play and there is no rush and all the stress is mild and everything is hunky dory forever and ever.
That would be pretty awesome if that was the case (and it seems like it is for some people??) but it doesn’t seem like the norm.
My theory on work-life balance: it’s a thing, it’s imperfect, and it’s always changing.
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When I think of work-life balance, I think of a set of scales – you know, the ones that teeter-totter depending on how the weight is distributed. I used to think that the goal was to always have those scales sitting at equal levels, perfectly balanced next to each other.
Why do we get so caught up in perfection? It’s asking for trouble. We know that for so many other parts of life, so why don’t we apply it to work-life balance as well?
We need to redefine work-life balance.
The quickest way to redefine it – call it imperfect.
We’re not going to have a perfectly balanced set of scales. Life doesn’t work like that.
What are we going to have instead?
A forever moving set of scales.
But if we can’t have perfect balance, what can we do?
We can move those scales at controlled rate, we can decide when we want to switch up whether there’s more weight to work or life, and we can make sure one side of the scale doesn’t crash to bottom with an overwhelming amount of weight.
Maybe I should translate this metaphor.
Work-life balance is a thing, but it doesn’t look like spending an equal amount of time at work and at home. Perfect balance isn’t possible, so work-life balance is imperfect.
Imperfect work-life balance looks like putting more time and effort into work some seasons and more time and effort into your home life other seasons. It’s knowing that a really important work project is coming up and adjusting your schedule accordingly so you can prioritize that project. It’s adjusting your workload when a family member gets sick, so you delegate work to someone else, or you just put it on the back burner until you can get to it again. It’s recognizing that you haven’t spent much time at home for a while so you turn your home life into a priority over work. It’s always checking on the balance between work and life so you never find yourself suffering burnout and overwhelm.
The work-life balance scales are always moving, whether it’s because you have to react to life events or because you want to change the weight. Being at an equilibrium isn’t the goal, it’s simply keeping the scales up.
What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
Enjoy the journey!