When you hear the words “work/life balance” what do they mean to you? How do you define work/life balance?
Did you struggle to answer those questions? Or did you end up mumbling something about being able to leave at 5pm and not working on the weekends?
If you’re like me, a person who enjoys her work, you struggle with the definition of what work/life balance is. The reason for this is probably because we’ve all been taught to view “work” and “life” as two separate entities. Which is silly, because saying that your work is separate from your life, suggests that you are not “alive” when you are working. Is that really true? Are you not breathing, thinking and feeling? Are you not (hopefully) enjoying yourself, being challenged, motivated and feeling a sense of satisfaction in your work? Are you not interacting with people? Or did you turn into a robot the minute you entered your office?
I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have a job they love, or that some jobs are hard/stressful or have unpleasant aspects to them (ALL jobs do) or that your boss/co-workers may not be not pleasant people, but our work is still a part of our life and for our own sanity we need to treat it as such.
So what IS work/ life Balance?
work and to your life.“
Did you not just get an “ah-ha!” moment reading that? I know I did when I came across this defenetion in an article this morning.
The defenition struck a cord with me because rather than creating a divide between work and life, it reminded me that achieving balance in my life is not about carving out 2 hours every day to “live my life”, but about finding ways to restore, energize and inspire myself 24 hours a day.
Personally, I have always struggled to find my balance because what I do for a living is also what I enjoy doing in my off-time. I enjoy reading and immersing myself in social media, advertising and tech news, and I also need to do it as part of my work. I enjoy anaylizing a problem and finding a solution, and I find I am the most successful during my off-work hours.
For me, trying to strictly separate the two has not worked and I’ve given myself the permission not to. But, what I have done is actively “turn off” my care and react radar after 5pm. So unless one of my campaigns is getting negative backlash that is the #1 trend on Twitter, or my client’s website got hacked by child pornographers or other unsavoury types, I don’t “care” about the work emails that flow in after 5pm, nor do I “react.” Instead, I go for a walk and tweet about the beauty of my favourite park.