Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Everywhere I look, it seems like everyone is rushing either from work to their lives or from their lives to work. Even though we’re keeping busy, cramping more and more things in our days, or trying to have it all, we’re all dreaming about work-life balance.
Chasing for the perfect ratio of time dedicated to work, and time dedicated to our personal lives is on our minds all the time. We have one leg in one room, but the other leg is already out. Looking at how hard to stay mindful and focus on a given task at hand is, one may think it’s not about finding the balance anymore but it’s about cutting out the distractions.
The statistics show that we are more and more dissatisfied with our work-life, and our life-life. And there is the debate about having it all and about work-life balance in the background. But in the light of how busy we are and how overwhelmed and stressed we feel, is work-life balance something we can even attend to achieve? Or is it a myth?
What does it mean to have a work-life balance?
What is balance?
When we talk about balance, we talk about the even distribution of time spent on work-related tasks and life-orientated tasks. But we spend most of our lives either at work if you’re a full-time professional, career driven, or have a boss who regards everything as urgent, or at home if you are not part of the workforce. Either way, you hardly have moments when you can sit and get lost in the moment.
How can you even measure what is an even distribution of your time?
How can you balance all the responsibilities you have at work and show up fully at home?
Balancing may be a hard act to perform, and it may be that by trying to perform it, it can bring more overwhelm in your life.
Maybe you need to start setting some boundaries instead of looking for that perfect balance?
Creating boundaries around your work and creating boundaries around your life outside of work may seem more manageable. You may have days when your balance is a little off, but you can still keep your boundaries.
With boundaries comes focus. Staying focused on one thing at a given time may be harder than you think. Especially in today’s day and age when our already overloaded brains are bombarded by distractions all the time. But only by creating clear boundaries between what’s work and what’s not, you can have it all. Or at least try to have it all.
Research shows that by staying focused, we are more productive, work harder and we have a greater feeling of achievement. We’re more satisfied with our work and as a result with our life outside of work too.
And when the time comes to be with your family, be with your family. This means being fully present, focused, in the moment. The time you spend together as a family, or the leisure time you have for yourself is part of creating your boundaries. And it’s part of achieving your optimal health too.
Be like an athlete
You can look at creating work-life boundaries the same way as athletes train for the Olympics. They spend hours and hours training hard, getting into top shape, improving their performance, and polishing their craft. They play hard to win.
But then it comes the rest.
After any sports event, all athletes undergo recovery time, which is the off-season for them. This is a time when the focus is on nourishing the body and mind, healing any injuries, building strength, and getting ready for the next season again.
So, how about if you build your work-life boundaries the way athletes train for the Olympics? Play hard when you’re at work. Be productive and sufficient. Stay focused and be proud of the hard work you put in. But once you are off the field, give yourself permission for some downtime.
Your body and mind need some rest time to rejuvenate, restore and rebuild. Scheduling some self-care into your life will help you to maintain healthier boundaries.
You’ll be more present, more focused, happier and your satisfaction will increase.
Your boundaries are not set in stone. Keep adjusting, amending so they fit within your own lifestyle. So, it’s you who keeps the boundaries and not the other way around.
Work-life balance may be hard to achieve, and for some may be even impossible. You may be inclined to push yourself to do longer hours at work, to schedule kids’ activities on the afternoons, and hope that someday the balance will even out. But the speed of life is increasing, and it doesn’t look like this will change any time soon. So, looking for a balance may be like looking for a mythical creature.
What if you try creating some boundaries instead? Separate what’s work and what’s life and see where the line needs to be drawn so you can have it all in the proportions that work for you. And keep adjusting until it fits.
Your health and wellbeing are vital parts in creating boundaries. If you work hard, give yourself recovery time to stay in the game. Be like an Olympic Athlete. Play hard to gain the recognition you want but schedule some downtime to recover and conserve energy once you back on.
It may turn out that you created the balance you wanted all along.
So, how are you going to create work-life boundaries today?
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