Come see us at our luncheon next Wednesday July 19th to learn more about Work Life Balance!
We have all heard the phrase “work life balance” and we all know what it refers to – how to keep from being burned out by our careers or our desire to make money. What I don’t like about the phrase “Life Work Balance” is that it draws up the image of work on one side of the fulcrum and life on the other — as though work and life were at opposite ends of the spectrum, that to work was to have no life and a life at its best means never working. I don’t agree.
I’d like to suggest that we instead think of Life as working at playing, as working at finding or keeping friends, working at staying close to family, at getting better at your hobbies, and at pursuing ideas that interest you. Realize and get comfortable with the fact that “work” is a part of all things in your life from family to friends to hobbies and your career.
The point being that work encompasses every aspect of our lives. Work is not something separate from life. Work is walking down the hall to the kitchen for a snack or like getting dressed in the morning. Work is so integral to every aspect of our life that we don’t even think of it as work. Life is work. Some of it is automatic some work requires focus.
When we talk about or listen to others lecture about a “Work Life Balance” what we are really attempting to divine is how to be happy — with career, family, friends, and our contribution to our community and the world. How to be happy about all aspects of our life.
We all have multifaceted lives and when one part is ignored, we feel less than great, we feel diminished, we become “stressed out”. Simply put, we become unhappy. Looking at it from the opposite direction, we are happy to the extent that we engage in, that we work at and develop the different facets of our being, to the extent we accomplish something. Because accomplishing an objective or a goal makes us feel GOOD.
Accomplishing something that helps someone else or makes the world a better place makes us feel GREAT. And this is the magic ingredient that is the foundation of a balanced life. Try to find balance by making it all about your life and you will be unbalanced. Like it or not, you are part of a group, a team, a family, a nation, a culture, society. Or to use that rather cheesy and saccharin phrase, “You belong to the world.” So engage in it.
We humans are hardwired to help others. It is the glue that holds societies together and allowed the species to raise to the top of the food chain. We are not happy unless we are convinced that some portion of our actions and our life positively impacts those around us.
No one can tell you how to achieve the balance you want in your life, but there are some generic tools out there that may be helpful. Here are three tools you might try using to achieve a more balanced life. I can’t take credit for coming up with them — they are bits of wisdom, homilies if you will, that have come to us from the many generations before me who were asking the same @#$% question – how do find a happy balance in my life.
– Let go of perfectionism. Yeah it’s a great thing to work toward, but let go of the idea of achieving it in everything you do. Somethings are just not worth the effort.
– Find time for yourself. In this age, yes, that means turn off your laptop and your phone — for the next hour, the next four hours, even the entire day, for whatever amount of time you scheduled for yourself.
– Exercise and meditate. We all know that exercise improves our ability for cognitive thought — so what are your waiting for? To meditate may not click with many of us but think back to being a kid, a very young kid. Weren’t there times when you just stared at clouds or watched an insect travel up and down a stalk of grass or just rode your bike around and around the block? That’s meditation. Recapture that ability. The benefits are numerous and documented in very rigorous medical studies.