Does Work-Life Balance Exist?
A recent article was talking about ways to feel happier every day. It pointed out that a lot of people feel tremendous stress and anxiety about their lives. They feel under a great deal of pressure to perform at work and at home—and have this chronic sense of never getting it right.
This is a feature of life in the modern world. Everything is moving fast and the expectation to “keep up” (not to even mention “get ahead”) pervades our lives. It’s crazy-making.
Here is a suggestion that might be helpful:
Don’t get stuck in a “work-life balance trap.” It’s too easy to hear experts talking about concepts like this and then add yet one more obligation to the already overloaded plate. “When will I ever have the time or energy to balance my work and my life? Here’s another thing on my to-do list that’ll never get done!”
Rather than focus on finding a perfect balance, it helps to get clear on the things that matter most. Once you’re clear, you can begin to turn more and more of your attention to those things—and let some of the less important things slip off the plate if necessary.
And, according to end of life authorities, the thing people who are dying regret most is that they didn’t spend enough of their precious time and energy on their important relationships.
This is why they think that relationships hold the magic key to the problem of work-life balance.
If you make a list of the most important relationships at home and at work, who are those people? How well do you know them? When was the last time you spent an hour with them just listening and learning what’s important to them?
There’s this old saying that goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Imagine how your relationship with your significant other, children, friends, co-workers, and boss might improve if they felt how much you care about the real connection between you. What if they knew that you are on their team and that their needs matter to you?
Can you picture a scenario in which they have the space to tell you what’s important—and where you have the room to do the same?
When this happens, it becomes much easier to focus on the most important needs in any of these relationships, and start letting go of or limiting many of the less important duties and obligations that cause so much stress.
And with this clear focus, life gets simpler. Then we can spend more energy doing quality work, being present, loving what we do—and the people around us. That sounds a lot like work-life balance to us.