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Work/life Balance

Is Your Balance Out of Whack?

This last weekend was Father’s Day, and many of us celebrated with the special men in our lives. I’m sure there was an abundance of cards, gifts, brunches, dinners, outings, activities, and maybe even some US Open golf watching.

For us, the holiday turned into a two-day family extravaganza. The good news is that both kids were home to celebrate and we had a wonderful time together. The not-so-good news is that I didn’t have a single second to get any work done. My precious and elusive work/life balance got completely out of whack.

I woke up early Monday morning and hit the ground running! It seemed like my to-do list was on steroids and I had to magically turn a 24-hour day into 28-hours. We all struggle to maintain this mythical work/life balance, and it’s time to admit that it doesn’t really exist.

Your balance is going to be out of whack…so get used to it!

There are times when the stars are perfectly aligned, and we are in that euphoric balanced state. And there are other times when it feels like one part of our lives is screaming at the top if its lungs and demanding our full and complete attention.

Our lives are like a teeter-tauter, and we’re constantly making adjustments and accommodations when one side gets too high and the other side gets too low. The two sides may be only level for a moment, but the goal is to hold on and to never give up.

Whatever professional goals you’re trying to achieve, your personal life is going to get in the way and vice-versa. It’s a constant juggling act and we all live complicated lives with competing priorities.

Here are 4 Quick Tips to Create a Better Balance…

  • Be Present – I know that’s the clique of the moment, but it’s so true. Whether you’re going for a family bike ride on Father’s Day or you’re delivering a presentation to your biggest client ever, be fully present. If you’re constantly thinking about what you “should” be doing instead of focusing on what you’re actually doing, you’re not doing anything well. Don’t miss the beauty and the uniqueness of that experience because you’re distracted by an unanswered email or an unfolded load of laundry. It will all be there waiting for you when you’re done.
  • Give Up the Guilt – We are wired to feel guilty, and it’s time someone created a cure for that epidemic. Guilt is a colossal waste of time and energy, and only adds to the stress and pressure you already feel. No one is perfect and no one lives a perfect life, and don’t compare your work/life balance to anyone else. You define that for yourself. We all make difficult choices, decisions, and sacrifices and guilt only makes it worse. Be kind to yourself and let go of the guilt.
  • Think Big Picture – Instead of evaluating balance based on a day or a weekend, think bigger. Think about a balanced month, or a season, or a full year. Based on circumstances beyond your control, there will always be insanely busy times and more quiet times. If you’re a CPA, you know you need to hunker down first quarter and no one will see you until April 16. If your child is graduating from college, you know that week you’ll be focusing on your family. The key is to recognizing the ebbs and flows over a calendar year and plan accordingly.
  • Keep Going – We’ve all heard about the “best laid plans”, and we all know that the unexpected happens all the time. It’s really easy to get unbalanced and derailed. You have carved out an entire week to focus on your job search, and your computer gets a virus and crashes. You planned a family road trip for the last six months, and your car breaks down right before you hit the road. Things happen, but life is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is to just keep going, and to dig deep and find that resilience and inner strength to get back on the horse and giddy-up!

 

Let’s debunk the balance myth once and for all, and accept the fact that there is no such thing as the ultimate work/life balance. Balance means different things to different people, and there is no balance one-size-fits-all. Just like success, you need to define balance for yourself…and then go out there and get it! Woman UP!

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