Lately I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about work-life balance. I think this is a concept the majority of working adults struggle with, add more pressure if you have a family or if you are still on an educational path.
I personally catch a lot of heat from the people around me about failing at balancing my workload with my personal down time. As a single mom myself, it becomes more grueling to try to separate and manage your time effectively, without sacrificing the quality of your work, and even more important, maintaining your children as the overall priority.
For years I tried to find such a thing as balance, but it only left me with a feeling of always failing at something. It quickly becomes a very guilt/stress ridden situation; if you have to work long hours you feel guilty for taking this time away from your family, and when you check out early you constantly think about the unfinished work items and tasks, you’re left with a feeling that you just can’t win.
For the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to work for a company that I love, doing things that I enjoy alongside people I care about and enjoy being around. It comes with its challenges too, like long long hours, around the clock availability due to multiple time zones, project demands, operational pains, etc etc etc!
But finding a job that I love has allowed me to rethink the life and work balance I’ve been struggling with for so long. I realized that separating them both was going to be a lost battle, a mental war where the only casualty was going to be my mental and physical health.
For some time now I’ve taken a whole different approach: blending both. I no longer separate them or compartment my life into blocks that would constantly insist on overlapping with each other. I’ve managed to join them together and change my mindset about the way it is “supposed to be”.
I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that allows me to do this – not all do or support this kind of dynamic. There are days where I work from home and I can work and deliver and can also spend time with my son, he plays with Legos right alongside me while I build a proposal. I’ll bring him to work on those days where I’ll surprise him and pick him up early from school. I have more freedom with my hours to spend more time with him, so it is ok to lay down next to him as he sleeps while I write a project status.
If you love what you do, if you feel professionally fulfilled, if you get happiness from what you accomplish at work every day, you’ll have an easier time merging these aspects of your life, eventually it will come as second nature to incorporate your demanding job into your daily personal life and alas, including your personal life into your job.
I understood that there is no such thing as a personal life and a work one. My job is a part of my life, what you do is a part of who you are and if you put your heart and soul into it, even more so. I recommend you try it out, you might realize that the energy you spend finding this infamous balance, is best spent intertwining them and letting them coexist.
- On September 2, 2016