Why Work/Life Balance Is A Myth
We want it all, don’t we?
We want great work. We want rich and satisfying careers. We want intimate relationships. We want families. We want happy, healthy kids. We want friends in abundance ready to do things with us at the drop of a hat. We want beautiful houses. We want them immaculate at all times. We want …
Yep, that’s what we want.
And so it started. The work/life balance myth.
You know, the I-can-bring-home-the-bacon-and-fry-it-up-in-a-pan myth we were sold on all those years ago.
Been there, done that. And let me be the first to say, it doesn’t work.
The Best Energy Is Focused
Imagine a car barreling along at full speed. What happens if you crank the steering wheel a hard left? At best, your car will skid and turn. At worst, you’ll flip multiple times through the air, destroying the car and possibly its occupants in the process.
A car does very well when all of its momentum is doing one thing — going forward. It can speed up and go as fast as it possibly can when all of its energy is focused on this one task.
We work in a similar manner. Yes, we’re human. And yes, as women we do have the ability to multitask. But how many things can you do well at one time?
Do two things together, and it will take you twice as long. Add in another task or two, and it will increase time tenfold.
One thing. Do it to perfection. Shut it down. Move on. It works better every time.
There’s A Time For Work And A Time For Play
Yep, there’s the 24 hour a day thing that limits everything you do. You have to sleep. You have to make money. You have responsibilities to the people in your life. You have things to do.
Then there’s you.
When one thing dominates, another falls to the wayside.
But here’s the thing; it doesn’t all have to monopolize our time.
Working can eat 8 hours of your day. A dance class may be one hour long. Both can be fulfilling without dominating. Both can make you a better, more satisfied person if you let it be.
Focus is about putting energy towards one thing and one thing only. And the more time you spend on that one thing, the more other things lose energy. It’s a fact that can’t be changed.
And it’s not a bad thing. I’ve found it can be very good, very rewarding.
As long as you realize you’re a multifaceted person. And make the time to be sure everything enters your life from time to time.
Thinking You Can Have It All
The problem comes when you THINK you can have it all and you feel you’re missing out on life because of it. When your brain says you can’t have something, it leaves you less-than-satisfied with everything else in your life instead.
I wanted a successful business AND the ability to spend as much time as possible with my daughter. She was in preschool three hours every morning. So I crammed as much as possible into that three hours. I’d put her down for a nap or set her up for a movie on the television and cram in another hour or two. I’d take her to the park and work on a file while she was playing. I’d sit at the table working while she colored or drew.
She’d ask a question, and I’d say, “What?”
Then it’d take me minutes to dive back into my task.
One day I admitted to myself I wasn’t doing any of it very well. My daughter was tired of repeating herself. I started tasks two, three, sometimes four or more times because I’d forgotten what I was doing or never completed it before moving on.
It’s not the THINKING that’s the problem; it’s trying to live up the expectation that comes with that line of THINKING.
If you think you’re missing out on something and try to make up for it by doing multiple things at once, chances are you’re missing out on more than you know.
Getting Lost In The Bling
The world is a complicated process. Especially in this crazy driven world where everything is live and in your face 24/7. We expect instant response, instant advice, instant gratification. Anything else simply won’t do.
Everyone else has/gets/does/expects it, why can’t you?
We leach onto the case studies where someone goes from zero to a million overnight. Where they cure cancer with a single bite of food. Where the world is perfect. It’s pretty that way.
And when it doesn’t happen for us, the world comes to a grinding halt.
Expectations based on what you see in the world will never bring peace into your life.
Expectations based on what you want in this world are the only way to find true balance. Reach for what is most important to you. Not what everyone else tells you.
“I am responsible for choosing my own happiness.”
If I had a dime for as many times as I’ve heard a guru say those words.
Funny thing is they’re true.
Sometimes I get caught up in all the shit the world throws my way. And let’s face, it’s a pretty big pile at the moment. Open up a news site or a paper or a magazine, and it’s filled with what’s WRONG with the world. You can get sucked in like you’re attached to the most powerful Dyson on the planet.
But in a similar manner, you can avoid it all too.
Sometimes I choose just to say enough. I do things for me. I meditate. I do yoga. I journal. I write.
Because that’s what I choose to do for me. I don’t worry about things I can’t change anyway. And the crap happens whether I worry about it or not.
So why worry about it? Why indeed.