Work/life balance is a hot topic these days as our lives become increasingly dependent on the interwebs. No longer can the 5 o’clock whistle separate our work from family. We are tethered 24/7 through smartphones, ipad’s, and netbooks that allow us to work “anywhere and anytime.”
As virtual work environments increase in popularity, so do our feelings of imbalance in work/life. My argument, however, is that the concept of “work/life” balance is nothing more than a myth. The reality is that your “work” and “life” will inevitably collide regardless of how desperately you try to create separation. Staying up all night with a sick child will effect how alert you are at the 8am team meeting. The necessity of completing an unexpected project by midnight will effect your ability to make it home by dinner time. Life happens.
It’s impossible to draw an imaginary line in the sand that will compartmentalize your two worlds.
And ultimately- that’s okay. It’s NOT lack of work/life balance that makes us so unhappy, but rather feelings of loss of control. Think back to highlights from your career. I bet they were the result of a few sleepless nights, sacrificed weekends, and living off pb&j because you were too busy to cook. However, we don’t feel jaded about those moments. And why is that? Simple. You made the choice to do those things.
You were in control.
The first step towards achieving balance is to forget about chasing that imaginary line. Instead, create a system for maintaining control over YOUR life. To accomplish this, you must be grounded on your CORE needs.
Sit down with a pen and paper and write down at least three things you MUST do each day to feel content, happy, satisfied. They can be big or small, all depends on YOU. A couple suggestions to get you going include having dinner with family, daily workout, morning walk with fido, coffee break at favorite cafe, watch movie with spouse, etc.
The next step is the hardest. You MUST strive each day to incorporate these core needs into your day. The simple act of committing to your daily happiness is a HUGE STEP towards overall well being. When this happens, you stop being a victim of your “to do’s” or “the man”.
You restore a sense of balance, take back control of your happiness, strengthen your sense of purpose, and create an optimistic outlook for your future.
Stop chasing the myth and start creating the reality.
What are some of your CORE needs? What makes you feel “out of control” of your life? Please share in the comments below!