I hate to break it to you but “work life balance” doesn’t exist.
At least not in the way that you’re used to hearing about it.
So you can stop googling “how to achieve work-life balance” now. Because WLB is a unicorn and unicorns don’t exist.
If you’re like me, the perfect “work life balance” would look something like:
Wake up, spend time in prayer with a devotional, make breakfast, go to work and be a rock star employee for 8+ hours, then stop at the gym for an energetic workout, then come home and cook a healthy dinner, then freshen up and be super cute for when the husbae arrives, then greet him in a cheerful voice, then after we eat and thoroughly clean up, I’d create quality content for the blog (or whatever hobby floats your boat), then check in with a few friends and family, while at the same time spending quality time with the husband, all while getting enough “me” time so that my introverted self doesn’t explode and finally, get 8 hours of sleep. EVERY DAY.
And before you ask, I’ve tried it….and actually succeeded….for one day. The next day, I was so out of it, I zombied myself into work with no breakfast and no energy. We ate leftovers for dinner and the chores sat there, looking at me. On a scale of 1-10, I was at a “no one talk to me for 6 years” level of tired.
….And to think, I don’t even had kids yet! *insert crying emoji*
Point is: TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING EQUALLY WELL (AKA: “BALANCE”) ISN’T DOABLE AND EVEN IF YOU DO IT, IT’S NOT SUSTAINABLE.
– Instant Life Hack: How To Be More Positive (from experience)
– Crushing Anxiety By Playing Candy Crush (Yup, The Phone Game)
– Our $163 Life Lesson On Being More Present
4 main reasons why you can’t do it all
- Time is limited: Everything requires time and hello, we each only have 24 hours
- Energy is limited: Everything requires some level of physical, mental and emotional energy and energy is NOT unlimited
- There are things beyond our control: Even when you are absolutely killing it, unplanned events will pop up and take up the time and energy you had set aside for something else
- Learning curves: Sometimes, you just won’t have the knowledge & wisdom to do what you need to do efficiently. Every transition in life has a learning curve and during that time, it will naturally take time for you to get used to things
So what is an ambitious queen/king to do? Accept mediocrity in life? Stop trying to have it all?
HOW TO DO THE BEST YOU CAN
An obvious answer is to prioritize. Obviously. We know that one.
Prioritizing is super important but you’re going to have to do way more than that.
Both yours and the people around you.
My favorite saying (which I repeat to myself almost daily at this point) is: You can’t be all things to all people all the time.
Being exceptional in one area means that you probably have to settle for being average in another area (at that time).
As discussed, time and energy are limited so decide what you’d like to be amazing at on a given day and then be content when you achieve that.
Be Humble & Acknowledge When You Come Up Short
If you are sucking in one area or the other- be open about it.
It’s okay to say “I haven’t kept in touch with you like I said I would, I’m sorry” or “I was too tired to cook so I bought takeout”.
Keeping up the persona of “master juggler” is detrimental to your health and before you know it, you will physically and emotionally exhaust yourself. So, I highly suggest being humble and admit when you just can’t handle everything on your plate.
Identify areas where you need more skills and then, expand your knowledge.
If a lack of knowledge is preventing you from doing the things you want to do well or efficiently, there are resources everywhere! Read books, read blogs, google it, talk to other people. At some point, you will find someone out there that is doing what you’re trying to do more quickly and efficiently.
When expectations change. When you take on a new role in life. When a situation you can’t control pops up. Be flexible and adapt quickly.
By moaning and groaning about how things have changed, you waste your own time and other areas of your life will suffer.
Pick up the book “Who Moved My Cheese” – it helped me A LOT in this area
One of the most memorable pieces of advice that I was given at a young age is to never be too proud to ask for help.
Did you know that you can get help in ANY area of life that you are falling short in?
When work is a challenge, there are mentors. If it’s spiritual devotion, there are apps for that. If it’s grocery shopping or meal prep, there is drive through grocery pickup and Pinterest has millions of recipes. Don’t let a struggle area discourage you and bring your whole flow down- get creative and get help!
So, now that I’ve shattered the “work life balance” bubble for you, I hope you’ll take a deep breath and give yourself a break.
You’re not Beyoncé sis – just kidding, she struggles too (and gets LOTS of help) I promise.
Just remember: You can’t be all things to all people all the time. But! You can be the important things to the important people all the time.
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Angelica Papagiannopoulos says
interesting read! A good reminder to rely on others when you need it. thanks for sharing!
I agree with absolutely everything you wrote. We need to be more gentle with ourselves and more understanding of other people. We have so many expectations in our lives, that’s absolutely not healthy. I have a sort of Marie Kondo attitude with some things, asking myself “is devoting time to this task or to this person having a positive impact on my life?”. If it doesn’t “spark joy”, I do the minimum if I have to (like with work-related tasks) or just get the hell out of there. It takes time to learn that you don’t owe your time/feelings/energy to anyone but it’s a very valuable lesson.
Such a good reminder. I struggle to ask for help and I really should more.