Words can be amazing and inspiring, but they can also be devastating and overwhelming. We can take a word, create an image around it, and then develop an entire way of thinking about it. Take the word ‘balance’.
When we think about our life, we tend to split it up into two distinct areas – our work-life and our life-life – and then we say we’re going to try and ‘balance’ the two.
Why do we do this?
For the most part it’s because we’ve been bombarded with external advice on how we can (and should) find the ‘right balance’ between the two. This comes with the promise that once we do this, our ‘balanced’ life will mean a happier life – for everyone – amazing!
But if we can’t find the so-called ‘balance’, we’re left with the feeling that we are inadequate or incapable, or just not trying hard enough – overwhelming!
See what I mean…
If you really think about it for a moment, why do we even call it balance – and why only ‘work’ and ‘life’?
Is our life really on a scale – with ‘life’ on one end and ‘work’ on the other?
Are we really trying to take the weight off one end to add more on the other – attempting to ‘even things out’?
When described like this, is it just me – or does this seem a little crazy?
If our life is on a scale with one end tipping up or down depending on how much time and energy we’re putting on the other, isn’t it just going to be a constant weighing game – never quite managing it.
How would we even know we’re balanced because I’ve yet to see the magic formula to show how it can be done – the same way – for everyone.
Who even said we had to find balance – what does it really even mean – I mean really mean?
OK, so if work-life balance isn’t working for us, then what is?
Let’s imagine that you completely remove the term ‘work-life balance’ from your vocabulary. You no longer talk about finding it and you no longer talk about wanting it.
How about we just let the scales fall where they fall – and then walk away from them. After all, they’re just imaginary scales. We made them up – they don’t really exist.
- How do I know when I’m spending too much time at work?
- How do I know when I’m spending enough time with my family?
- How do I know when I’m spending enough time at the gym?
- How do I know when I’m [fill in the blank]?
Without my work-life balance goal to aim for, how will I know when my life is perfectly balanced?
You won’t – and that’s OK because it never was and never will be – so let it go!
There is nothing to measure, nothing to reference, nothing to compare. It’s all down to you and your own formula – a formula that what works for you.
I’m not going to tell you WHAT your formula is or HOW to make a formula – because this is your life and you get to live it just how you want to.
I’m also not saying this is easy – believe me – from my own experience I know it isn’t easy. What I am saying is that it’s possible to manage your time, make plans, set goals, and make decisions – all on your terms – without always looking for ‘balance’.
This is really about taking control of your life – not trying to balance it.
So, step away from those scales and just get on with your amazingly imperfect life.