If you're feeling overwhelmed and overworked, finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you are not alone. Work-life balance. Such an ancient topic. After a full day’s work, the responsibilities still fall upon us to do the groceries, get the dry cleaning, go to Walmart, stay in touch with friends, stay well-kept, attend a PTA meeting, help with homework, prepare a tasty meal, play happy wife or husband, happy mom or dad, happy employer or employee, and all with that Mary Poppins-like smile.
It’s no wonder life can get, well… pretty darn draining. It’s no wonder most of us feel like we’re juggling spinning balls in the air.
Does real work-life balance truly exist? Well, I speak around the country on this topic, and I say no.
But here's what smart women know. Most of the successful "jugglers" understand that things don't come together at the same time. Meaning, the three components of balance; meaningful work, fulfilling relationships and personal rejuvenation rarely happen at the same time, and without stress. Superwoman or Superman may be able to juggle 10 things in a movie, but that's just what they are... fictional characters.
So, does real work-life balance truly exist? Well, I speak around the country on this topic, and I say no. It's more like a work-life IMbalance. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a matter of being comfortable with, and accepting of the fact that not every day, you will be in the groove. In the flow. Very rarely, does everything come together, at the perfect moment.
At the end of the day, all you can do is your own personal best, and pray to the Gods that life comes together as neatly as possible. It's a matter of SURRENDERING to perfection.
If you are in the category of "frazzled and overwhelmed," please read these 8 work life balance tips:
Remember what’s important in your life, and prioritize. If you look at the habits of highly successful people, amidst their frenetic paces and frenzy, they’re able to maintain perspective. It’s not about getting MORE done, it’s about prioritizing and choosing quality over quantity. What unnecessary things can you eliminate from your life to make room for the things you enjoy? That nurture you. Things that calm you, and balance you.
Guilt is a major roadblock for you. I promise you, if you ignore your own needs and/or overcommit out of guilt, and for long enough, you are going to experience a volcanic eruption… and it ain’t gonna be pretty! Stop the comparisons between what you’re doing and what you think you “should be” doing. It’s called realistic expectations, people. Go and get some! Keep turning yourself around and around out of guilt, and you shall turn into the human pretzel.
Duh…ask for help! From husbands, from siblings, from friends. From neighbors. From co-workers. Can you ask a girlfriend to do your carpool today so you can take a stroll for an hour, or go get a coffee and read and regroup? The “I can have it all and do it all” images in the media are not serving us well. Ask for help when you can. Don’t be afraid.
Move your behind. It's difficult to exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but study after study demonstrate the positive effects that exercise has on your energy level, physical health and mental psyche. I credit much of my ability to multi-task and perform at high levels due to the gym.
Physically pencil-in downtime into your schedule. Yes, I'm serious. Get out your IPhone, Blackberry, Android, whatever, and actually schedule in time with family and friends, as well as activities you enjoy doing that relax and recharge you. And it doesn’t matter what that is. For me these days, it’s House of Cards!
Drop those activities that suck your time and energy. Life is short, and you should be spending time on activities that enhance your personal life or career. If you enjoy volunteering, but it's zapping you of your time and energy, cut back, or cut it out. Not forever. For NOW. I make sure 85% of my commitments are NECESSARY commitments.
Acquire proper time-management skills and GET ORGANIZED. This helps greatly with the frazzled factor. Try not to procrastinate. When you leave things for the last minute, the anxiety builds. Keep a journal, diary or to-do list, and manage it daily. Do a couple of tasks each day, instead of leaving them all for one day. Things will become a lot less overwhelming.
Move Closer To Work - Our commute to the office can have a surprisingly powerful impact on us. The fact that we do this twice a day, five days a week, can build up over time and have a lasting effect on our happiness. According to the research, having a long commute can leave us unhappy. We tend to try to compensate for this by having a better job or bigger house, but these compensations just don’t work. These long commutes leave little time for self-care, and the effects of traffic can dampen our positive outlook.
Life really is a juggling act. A balancing act. It's not about finishing first, or finishing best. It's about being steady. If you can internalize that concept, you shall feel tremendous freedom.
I'd love to know... what are YOUR work-life balance survival tips? Do you think balance is even possible? Please share below.