Work Life Balance: How to actually achieve it.
As a woman I am sure you have felt the push and stress of your need to be able to do everything while at the same time trying to achieve work life balance. Society raises its girls on the notion that they have to be able to conquer the world, but be okay with the structures that keep them back. We have to be gorgeous, hard working, successful, great mothers, great friends, and perfect partners. Blah. Blah. Blah. It’s effing exhausting.
On top of all of this, we have to find work life balance?! More than a few times I have given a big middle finger to a new work life balance article that is trying to get me just to do it all but find balance by being present in the moment or time blocking but still trying to accomplish my way too long to do list. I’m not downing being present or time blocking, both are very important but that shit is impossible if you are still trying to be everything to everybody.
The truth is that in order to achieve work life balance, especially as business owners, we have to do less. We have to stop doing the things we “should be doing” and start doing the things we “need to be doing”. This post walks through some tips and tricks on how you can achieve your goal of work life balance by doing less and focusing on what you actually need to be doing.
The real truth about work life balance is that it starts with doing less.
As all of our guests on Lean the F*ck Out know, achieving work life balance while doing EVERYTHING perfectly is completely impossible. Being the perfect women is an insurmountable obstacle. One none of us should be trying to overcome. Instead, we should be focusing on being our best selves and achieving balance by focusing on our all star abilities and the things in our life that are most important to meeting our goals.
In order to achieve work life balance, you have to lean the eff out of the churn of “what you should be” and be who you actually are. This practice starts with finding out what you are actually good at and doing that, while leaving the other stuff to the people who are good at that stuff.
Tasha Booth of The Launch Guild calls this space your “zone of genius” and gives tips in her episode about how you can find your’s and hire others (or drop what’s not important) to make up for the rest.
As tough as it might be to give up tasks or to let others take control, once you are able to you will find it gets easier and ultimately you will be a much better human. Individuals who are able to find their “zone of genius” and become confident in their own abilities are the most balanced humans and the most successful entrepreneurs.
Achieving work life balance.
So, then how do we actually achieve work life balance? Here are some highlights from what we have heard from guests on the podcast and what we have started using in our own lives.
You might not be up for trying out all of these recommendations at once, but start with what works best for you. The most important idea here, is for you to take a bit of time to figure out what you really want to and need to be doing; and how you can figure out the best way to let go of the things in your life that are keeping you down.
In order to achieve work life balance, we recommend:
Stop doing all the things.
Obvious one, but the most important. You can’t do it all. Do what you need to be doing, not what you should be doing.
Set up systems to make things easier.
Once you’ve figured out the tasks you need to be working on, create systems to support those that are repetitive and keep you moving toward your goals.
Be present in the moment, not in your to do list.
Like I said, I don’t hate the idea of being present, it’s just impossible to do when you are expected to do everything. Instead, learn to be present by making an achievable to do list and allowing yourself breaks from it. This practice takes a bit of trust in yourself. You won’t forget a task if you have the systems setup, which will in turn allow you time away from your list.
Take moments throughout the day to break and feel your feelings if you are overwhelmed.
This has been the absolute hardest for me. Like every good, caring, woman (that’s sarcasm, in case you were wondering) I have always shut down my feelings, kept moving and put others first. After lots of therapy and work on understanding myself, I have finally realized that actually taking these breaks and allowing myself to be sad (or happy or mad or whatever feeling I’m squashing) has helped me work better. Giving myself this time, allows me to stay better focused and in the right mindset when I do need to be on.
Move one thing forward for your business each week.
In her episode, Tasha Booth recommends taking one step each week to move your business forward. This is the work on the actual strategy and work of the business. Working on the business, instead of in the business. Booth recommends taking at least 30 minutes a day to allow yourself this time. You can get a lot done in 30 minutes and if you are continually moving forward you will feel much more balanced and successful.
Ask for help and be okay with the help.
Once you have figured out your “zone of genius”, according to Booth; it is time to stop actually doing everything and start asking for help on the tasks that don’t fit in that zone. It can be hard to let things go, because your business and dreams are yours to accomplish, but once you start getting good help and allowing partners, housemates, and friends to help you with life tasks, you will begin to have more time for what is important.
The Do’s and Don’ts For Achieving Work Life Balance.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while you are trying to achieve your own life balance.
While seeking balance, do:
- Give yourself grace.
- Allow yourself break time.
- Be okay with time that is just for you.
- Ask for help.
- Be okay with help, even if the individual isn’t completing the task the same way you would have.
- Allow yourself your feelings.
- Focus on both your physical and mental health.
- Follow your intuition.
- Remember: Business growth is a marathon, not a sprint. — Adriana Vázquez Ortiz
And while you are at it, don’t:
- Make excuses for how you have to be the one to do complete the tasks.
- Take shit from anyone that says you aren’t doing enough.
- Listen to anyone who gives you shade (aggressively or passive aggressively) about your house tidiness or parenting skills or anything else about your life.
- Allow others to define what tasks you should be doing, instead of focusing on the tasks you know you need to be doing.
Now go get balanced!
Achieving work life balance through the ways described in this article has worked for me and many of our guests. We suggest trying out some of the recommendations that work for you, and let us know if there’s others you have found helpful.