The truth about work life balance, is that it totally exists. But potentially not in the way you imagine.
Balance conjures up images of two scales where each side has an equal weight – and the scale is balanced. Work life balance probably doesn’t look like that. And really – why should it? It’s not as thought anything else in our life has equal parts. We don’t sleep 12 hours and be awake for 12 hours. We don’t east half the time, and fast the other half. Nope – each thing is important – but it doesn’t need to be ‘balanced’ and neither does work and life.
Before I talk about how I work with clients on achieving work life balance – we need to get one thing clear.
If you own your own business, and you love what you do – which you should if you’ve dedicated your time and money to creating a business around it. Your life and work don’t need totally separate boxes in our minds.
We’re alive. And everything we do in our 24 hours each day is what we’re doing with our lives. Whether we’re working or we’re spending time with our kids, or we’re cleaning the house. This is life. If we have a bad attitude about the stuff that’s not as fun. We have no-one to blame but ourselves. And why waste time being miserable?
Even if it’s something we don’t like doing – it doesn’t mean we have to have a bad attitude about it. I realised this years ago when I was doing the dishes and hating it. I realised that life doesn’t stop when we’re doing something we don’t like. And if I spent 40 minutes in a bad mood, that was 40 minutes wasted that I could have been enjoying life.
We choose our attitude and we may as well choose to be happy if we’re doing the stuff we don’t love but needs to be done – right? Unless we get a full time nanny / cleaner / chef team – its likely we’re going to do stuff we don’t love some of the time.
Anyway – back to work life balance.
As I was getting at earlier – my idea of work life balance isn’t equal parts work and life – at all. In fact, I definitely work more than I chill. But I love it!
Balance to me is feeling fulfilled in every area. For me this means I’m not stressed about work because I’ve left myself enough time to get things done. It means I’m spending time with my kids, getting 1:1 time with hubby, reading my bible, eating well and going to the gym most nights. It also means I’m seeing my friends, doing self care, learning, being creative, reading regularly, and the house isn’t an absolute bomb. It is today – ha! but I’m facing out the window so I cannot see the explosion that is our playroom at the moment.
I get 2 full days without the kids because they’re in care – and the other days I’m working around nap time. So on work days – housework is 100% ignored.
So balance for me means that on a weekly or fortnightly basis, I’m ticking everything off my list. Yes – I literally have a wellness checklist. If I’m not getting everything in, I don’t feel balanced. I feel grumpy and lethargic and not myself.
But getting everything is doesn’t mean it always looks the same. Sometimes I’ll read once in a fortnight and sometimes I’ll read every day. Sometimes I’ll be working 12 hour days and sometimes I’ll be working 3 hour days. Each week looks different depending on the commitments I’ve made and the ebb and flow of business and family life.
The key part for me is knowing what my ideal week looks like.
There’s certain things that are non-negotiable, like picking the kids up and cooking and exercise. But there’s also the luxury things that get bumped if I don’t get as much work done as I’d like or there’s a tech issue or a client crisis etc.
The categories in my balanced life checklist are:
- self care
- learning and
- life admin
I regularly need something that fills me up in each of those categories – or I know I feel off kilted, unbalanced – not myself.
I seriously recommend that you sit down with your notebooks and think about each of those categories and what you need in each to make you feel like YOu. To get more balance in your life, so you’re not just doing work/mum/chef/chauffeur and never ending piles of laundry.
Balance is going to look different for each of us, and no we’re not going to get it perfect all the time. but I tell you what, with a morning routine, and great weekly plan and a nighttime routine – I’m sure as anything going to give it a red hot go.
And if the kids are sick and I just cannot be bothered. Tomorrow is a brand new day. And it’s the same for you.
I hope this helps create some function around your week, and get more balance.
Let me know how it works for you!
– Annelise xo