You’re a busy parent. You work at a busy law firm where you’re considered late if you show up at 7am and leaving work before 7pm is rare for you. Meanwhile, your children are enrolled in several after-school programs that often require your presence. Your commute is 30 minutes one way and in the 6 hours you have left of the 24 we all have, you have to help with homework, build family relationships, put out several fires and somehow get enough sleep to exist on Earth. Is work-life balance something you can really achieve?
How do you balance it all?
There are millions of articles and resources that come up in Google when you search for the term “work-life balance”. On this blog, we have written posts like this one about work-life balance too. But what’s the reality on the ground? Are the ideas we discuss in these articles actually helping people achieve work-life balance?
Work-life balance is important, but are we living up to it?
Work-life Balance – The Impossible Ideal
Statistics and research show, that when work and life are not balanced, it can lead to emotional and mental health problems. This inevitably reduces productivity and ends up costing the nation millions of dollars in lost productivity. Thus any employer who prioritizes work-life balance is ensuring that their company stays in the game for the long haul. According to surveys, more millennials make their job choices based on whether a company has a good work-life balance. The reality, however, is that sometimes no matter what you do, work-life balance is not possible.
There are times when a perfect balance is hard to achieve- this is just a fact of life. During a season where crucial projects need to be finished, it is possible to lose this balance over the course of a few months. Accepting the reality that work-life balance will be hard to achieve during this time is key, and may require that you talk to loved ones about this outlier season when you are unable to attend certain events.
If you’re an employer, it is helpful if you have a candid discussion with your employees about this lack of balance during this time.
As an employee, accepting that work-life balance is not always possible will save you from making promises you cannot fulfill- and reduce the number of apologies you have to make for missing things.
So what do you do when you accept that work-life balance is not possible?
You will have to prioritize the aspects of life and work that are the most important. Yes, everything in both of these areas are important, but there are a handful that are more important than others- think of those aspects of life and work as glass balls. Alternatively, there are aspects that you can put off for a while- think of those as rubber balls.
Now, think about dropping those glass balls as opposed to dropping the rubber balls. The former are easily shattered. Figure out which are the glass balls in your work and life and prioritize those.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Prioritization means you will not be able to get everything done, this is where asking for help becomes important. If your workload has become impossible, it might be time to have a conversation with your boss as to how you can change that.
For those things that are not prioritized in your personal life, could you hire help to get those done? A concierge laundry service for instance might benefit you greatly because not only do you value clean clothes, but this simple service will help you save hours that you can use to bond with your family instead or get that much-needed sleep.
Asking for help is key when you’re in a bind.
Closing Thoughts On Work-Life Balance
Balancing work and life sounds great; except sometimes, it truly is impossible to achieve a perfect balance. In these situations, it is best that you accept, prioritize and ask for help where necessary.
Your body and mental health with fare much better.