One of the hottest topics when it comes to career is how to balance your work life with your home life. After all, if you put too many plates in the air, some of them will certainly come crashing down, leaving you frantically picking up the small but jagged pieces, wondering what went wrong and how you could have done better.
But what if the perfect balance was an illusion that existed solely to frustrate you and make you believe that you’re not doing something right? What if it was impossible to achieve which means that you’re chasing something that doesn’t even exist?
Why Work/Life Balance Is a Mirage
While it is possible to be happy at both work and home, the two areas will rarely ever be balanced. There will always be a deadline at work that prohibits you from engaging in social activities with your friends and family or a sick child that prevents you from completing your work as you had planned. It is a constant give and take, creating an imbalance that shifts from side to side depending on the circumstances.
The sooner you let go of creating this perfect world in which your career and your personal life each take up 50% of your time and energy, the sooner you’ll actually start to embrace the imbalance for what it is. You’ll be more capable of “going with the flow” and dealing with life’s highs and lows as they occur, responding to them properly and effectively instead of worrying about how each one affects the other.
Tips for Creating an Imbalanced, But Happy, Life
So, when you start to get anxious or worried about one area of your life dominating the other, here are some tips that will help you create the perfect work/life imbalance:
- Remember that all imbalances are short term. If one area seems to take up a majority of your time and energy, know that a shift will occur in due time, forcing you to put more into the other area shortly. For instance, if work is dominating your schedule right now, it is likely that home will have to come first in the near future. Essentially, a balance can occur large-scale over the course of your life, but not so much on a day-to-day basis.
- Stay true to your values. In the end, as long as you stay true to your values, morals, and ethics, your life doesn’t have to be balanced in order to be happy. Just make each and every decision (both work and personal) with the intention of being able to look yourself in the mirror and knowing that you did the best you could with the information you had at the time.
- Live in the moment. The more you worry about yesterday or fret about tomorrow, the less you’ll be satisfied today. The most you can do is live in the here and now and enjoy all it has to offer. Admittedly, this is a hard one to master but when you do, you will hold the key to a lifetime of happiness.
- Know your priorities. One of the reasons most people seek work/life balance is because they want to be able to be everything to everyone around them. They want to excel in all areas so that they live a complete and fulfilled life. However, there will always be conflicts that exist, so you have to prioritize in regard to which area will take up a majority of your time. For instance, if a work project deadline is approaching, you may have to put in overtime (putting work first) but if your child is in her first dance recital, you may have to cut out of work early to be able to support her and see her progress (putting family first).
- Let go of the “if only” way of thinking. How often do you say to yourself, “If only this happened, then I will be happy”? If this occurs often, then you are putting your own happiness on hold, always waiting for something to happen so that you can finally have joy in your life. Remove this phrase from your vocabulary and replace it with “I am grateful for my life because…” and focus more on your blessings. It will do wonders for your soul.
There is no such thing as a work/life balance, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be unhappy in either area. Follow these six tips and enjoy every minute of your work/life imbalance!