Do you want work-life balance? Good luck. It's a mythical beast based on one hugely erroneous assumption - that you have control over the world.
The reality (and you probably don't need me to tell you this) is that you DON'T have control over the world. You don't even have real control over your little corner of it (but don't worry - nobody else does either).
You can make choices and take actions that increase the likelihood of balance. You may even start to feel like you really have it under control. But something will always come along and kick the legs right out from under that illusion.
You can be humming along in a nicely balanced state and then BLAM!, something goes south at work and you have to work double-time to keep things from going under. Or your child develops some health issues that requires all your extra time and attention. Suddenly your best efforts at balance go out the window.
Take your best shot at creating a balanced picture, and assume that it will ebb and flow from there. Sometimes it will feel in perfect balance. Sometimes you'll have to kick your work life into overdrive. Other times demands in your personal life will come roaring up. And sometimes it all happens at once.
Part of creating that work-life flow is staying conscious of what is happening. As the inevitable demands on your time and effort crop up, don't just blindly accept them. Make it a habit to ask questions and stay aware.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Am I willing to take this additional commitment on? For how long?
- Does this commitment have an end point?
- If not, is the new level of demand on me sustainable?
- If not, what can I do about it?
- If I take this commitment on, what am I willing to drop?
You'll never reach that perfect sweet spot for any prolonged period of time. Life doesn't come delivered in a tidy package like that. But if you stay aware and exercise the power of choice, you can at least stay in the flow.
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Time for a career change? Launch it with...
The Occupational Adventure Guide:
A Travel Guide to the Career of Your Dreams
by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst