Balance a Myth?
Lately I made a decision that it is time to get moving: I MUST update my website, start re-writing my new book, get more people on my mailing list, write 6 blog posts in advance and put Open Circles Foundation into a higher gear.
Oh, I forgot one more thing… I MUST have fun doing all that…
I know, it was a bit of a crazy To-Do-list, considering the fact that it was on top of my usual work in Open Circles and giving my usual workshops and trainings.
However, I thought it was manageable. I told myself, if I implement all the techniques of high performers and the techniques I teach I MUST be able to handle it.
So here is what happened on Day 1:
…I got an urgent email from Open Circles Marketing department that they needed my input on the new website…
…which then pushed my ‘block-time’ for my new book…
…which pushed down my time of responding to email only twice a day…
…and caused me to postpone my action for my LinkedIn connections…
…which meant that I saw my plan to have a nice and healthy dinner with Thom [my daughter] and Nisandeh [my beloved partner] go down the drain, because I had to complete all the above, and we had to settle with take-away dinner.
Day 2 started already with a big overdraft on my time so I ended up rushing down my usual chores and not getting around to do the BIG stuff.
This continued on for nearly a week before I forced myself to look at the results that were staring me straight in my face. Bottom line: my very busy days felt like a big, non-productive failure. All of my grand plans to excel at everything went out the window. And I excelled at nothing.
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you had days, or even weeks, where you felt that you were running as fast as you could, only to find out that you were not moving one step forward towards your goals and dreams?
That’s when I realized I fell into the standard trap of work-life balance definition.
Most people define work-life balance as some kind of walking on tightrope. However, try walking on tight-rope for 18 hours a day… You will end up burned out and dead [especially if it's high tightrope]. Others think about it as if dividing up our projects and our life tasks as though they were each a square in one of those old frozen TV dinners. But life is not that organized and neat!
If you look out at nature you’ll see that here is order, but it doesn’t come as squares or lines. It shows up as cycles. Life is not about dividing and separating, Life is all about interconnections and connecting. It comes in a never ending circles and cycles.
It’s time that we examine our definition and dream of balance. We need to realize that the more we try to separate things, the harder it becomes to have that balance. Boundaries between work and life is not possible anymore when technology is making all that separation fuzzy and anyone can interrupt you, even when you are in the toilet!
Does that mean that work-life balance does not exist anymore? NO! It only means that we need to define it differently and ask the right questions how to make it happen.
If balance is more an element of a cycle, you’ll need to look at it from a bigger picture. So how can you achieve REAL work-life balance? Here are seven answers to that question:
Everything has a time and place under the sun
King Solomon said it already: ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’.
I’ve started a business, published a bestseller book, been an awesome wife and a great mom, ran 3 training companies, created and built a new type of museum. But I’ve never done all those things to excellence at the same time.
Trust me, there will come a day when your daughter’s birthday party falls on the same day as the radio show host phones and want you to come for an interview. You better know where you are standing. You better know what are your priorities and where you are in your cycle of life.
Determine your priorities according to where you are in your life
There will be years when your family [partner, kids, parents] will be the MOST important ones and will come first. There will be years when your own achievements and contribution to the world will be the MOST important ones.
When you define your priorities remember it is only for a ‘season’, it’s not forever. Think, if this is your priority, what needs to be maintained, what needs to go away… for now.
Set boundaries and communicate them
Once you know what your priorities are, let others know them. Allow your partners, at work and in life, help you in finding solutions for the occasional cases when life hits you with the unexpected.
Take it day by day
One clever tip is to combine your work and personal calendars so you don’t necessarily prioritize one set of responsibilities over the other in advance. Each day, you can decide whether the staff meeting is more important than getting lunch with an old high school buddy, or vice versa.
Rock to your own rhythm
Researchers are increasingly paying attention to the topic of chronotypes [biological schedules that determine when we feel tired and awake]. What they have found is that people vary widely in terms of when they’re most creative, energetic, and productive. So…
Think about how your own abilities evolve throughout the day
If you’re most alert in the mornings, try getting to work early. If you really come alive after 9pm, consider creating a less traditional work schedule. That way, you won’t feel like you’re wasting valuable time at work when you’re half-zoned out anyway.
As women we have an advantage in tuning into this system, as it is part of our blueprint, nature created us with cycles. If you only tune into your monthly cycle [even when you are finished with it, like me, after 50], you’ll find out that you are much more in balance with your work and life.
The only permanent thing in life is… change [click to tweet]
Even once you’ve searched your soul to figure out what truly matters to you, accept that those priorities will change over time. Life is stronger than anything, relationships end, children grow, parents become sick or die, you might want to start a new project, or pick up a new hobby. Whatever the situation, be prepared for your values and schedule to shift, and make adjustments accordingly.
Sharing is caring!
Now I’m curious…
How do you create your Work-Life Balance?
Share it with us in the comment box below your tips, advice and experience when it comes to creating balance between work and life.
Trainer, coach and author of ‘Financial Independence for Women’. Helping to create personal, business and financial success. I am the co-founder of Open Circles Academy, and founder of Balanced Business Women. My long term goal is to support women on their path to become conscious millionaires and leaders in their field of expertise. Let’s connect on Facebook or follow me onTwitter.
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