Is Creating a Work Life Balance a Myth?

Work-Life Balance has been a buzz word for such a long time, and has, in recent years, been receiving criticism as unrealistic and truly mythical. That makes us wonder, is that so?

When we think of balance we automatically think of a perfect 50/50 split, however, what in life is a perfect 50/50 split (unless you have an extremely good lawyer)? Nothing really. So why would we put the one thing that is, for the most part, completely out of our control into a category of having or needing perfect, textbook definition, balance? What a trivial pursuit that is and quite frankly, unattainable. Logically speaking, we are not able to commit 12 hours to the office, whether home or away,  and 12 hours to home, family, friends, me-time, relationships, chores, grocery shopping, exercising, leisure time, so on and so forth.

So what is the true definition of Work Life Balance and can we achieve it once defined?

Work-Life Balance indicates that there is something that we need to “escape” from. For most, it is the work, or office life that needs escaping and for some, it may be actual “life” that needs escaping. So, is it that we are really balancing or are we just simply trying to harmonize work and life? I believe in creating a work-life harmony which is a much more attainable goal. Trying to find the perfect balance between the white walls of the office and the hustle and bustle of personal life, actually causes us to stress more. Fact is that life is ever changing and evolving. This is completely out of our control.  Example, you can be diligently working your 9-5 and the daycare calls because your toddler is regurgitating his apple cinnamon oatmeal from this morning and suddenly work life automatically shifts to family life. Vice-Versa, you could be sitting down enjoying a cup of tea and at precisely 8:30pm your phone emails start going crazy due to a huge offer that fell through and you need to stop the ship from sinking before Monday’s 8am staff meeting. The point here is that there is never going to be a true textbook balance and the more you try to create the perfect 50/50, the more you are going to stress yourself out, because frankly, life just doesn’t work that way. By creating harmony and creating space to embrace the ebb and flow of life, you are creating your balance for your life.

How does one just let the pendulum swing and enjoy the ride?

Let’s take work, for starters. I know many of us have been handed a large project that has felt like it has taken over or has  “controlled our lives”. Our response to that? We feel pain.

And in response to pain? We try to make it go away or escape from it. Trying to meticulously maneuver our way through a thorn bush is just silly because pain is inevitable, but not all pain is bad. Pain can signal growth (ahem, ever heard of the term growing pains?). If you are going to be uncomfortable, then you had better make sure it’s for a darn good reason. Now, going back to the large project that seems to be controlling our life and seeping into our Netflix and chill time. Ask yourself, what are you experiencing from this? What valuable takeaways will result from you nailing this large project successfully? What opportunities for growth will this project bring? Turning your mindset around will instantly create determination and motivation, it also dulls the pain and all of the sudden, it doesn’t seem to have such a grip on you, because you are now in control, not work. Plus, it’s not forever. Your life, just like mine, is full of seasons. Some seasons are busy, some are not, some are more dedicated to family and relationships, some are laser focused on work, but like all seasons, they come and go and come back again. Defining what your overall priorities are in life, will give you the clarity you need in order to keep them straight. Work-Life bends and twists, and there will be times when your relationship has to take precedence over your work, where you may have to step away from the office to be a supportive family member or friend, and there will also be times where your need to put your business first.  Learning to honor your priorities and accepting the coming and going of seasons will bring joy and harmony into your life, which will, in return, grant you the truest balance.