By Caroline Creedon
Time For You
Work-life balance is a myth.
I know what you’re thinking. Mark, you’re crazy. My work-life balance is bang on!
But the truth is, the whole idea relies on an impossible equilibrium. Nothing works in this sort of perfect utopian 50/50 split.
Anything you read about “work-life balance” speaks exclusively about output. When we talk about this balance, we’re really measuring the output we give at work and the output we achieve at home. In other words, how are you splitting your effort equally between work and home life? Divide the two completely.
There are two reasons I really detest this idea. Firstly, it’s the assumption that your entire life is only broken down into two categories. I don’t know about you, but my world is a lot more complex than that.
The second reason is that it implies your work isn’t part of your life, and vice versa – that the two versions of you are separate. Unless you’re living in the new Apple TV show “Severance,” that just simply isn’t true!
Work is a huge part of our life, the two are completely intertwined, especially when you’re a business owner.
It’s time to stop thinking in such restrictive terms and start asking ourselves how we can do even better than the imaginary work-life balance. It all comes down to these four simple steps:
If things are going really well at work, you should share that with your “home” life; your friends, family, etc. This goes the other way, if something great just happened at home, say someone graduated or started their own business, that positivity should trickle into your work life.
Think of this as using the momentum of your wins, both at work and at home, to stimulate positivity across everything you do.
The key to making this work is the mentality that every part of your life is like a puzzle piece and they all fit together to create a holistic picture.
You might also take this as an invitation to bring your kids or dog to work with you one day or keep a family photo on your desk. You aren’t two different people at home and at work and you shouldn’t try to pretend you are.
Wearing a hard front doesn’t work. People don’t relate to that, whether we’re talking to team members, family members, or even the barista at your local café. Your daily interactions are impacted by how you present yourself.
The hard truth is that we all have off days. But shutting down and pretending the hard times don’t exist is only going to tear you further away from the good things in your life, both at work and at home.
Remember, you’re the same you at work and at home, on good days and on bad ones.
Sometimes business is going to take some quality time away from your personal life. That’s just part of being a business owner. But what makes this totally okay is when we can allow our business to give that time back.
Sure, you might miss a couple of Saturdays at the park to finish a project on time, but remember those missed Saturdays and make up for them when you can. Maybe you take a Monday off the following week to go to a school footy game or recital.
Bottom line: Don’t be a workaholic.
It’s up to you to be crystal clear with the people around you about what you need. If you had a rough night because your kids were still bouncing off the walls at midnight, it’s okay to let your team know you might be taking things a little slower that morning.
This also goes both ways. If you hit a roadblock at work, talk it through with your partner over a glass of wine that evening. Even if it’s not about solving the problem, finding that happy blend means you can vent when you need to.
So you can see, it’s not about a 50/50 split. It’s about harmony. If you can adopt this mentality, your entire life will fall into a rhythm where the ups and downs will balance each other out, both in business and beyond.
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