Work-life balance, it’s a trendy new phrase buzzing about businesses. Google it. You’ll find inspirational quotes that are probably posted in everyone’s cubicle or home office.
Becoming The Ouroboros
Work-Life Balance . . . it’s a trendy new phrase buzzing about businesses. Google it. You’ll find inspirational quotes that are probably posted in everyone’s cubicle or home office.
“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” — Dolly Parton
“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’” — commonly attributed to politician Paul Tsongas or rabbi Harold Kushner
“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” — Mother Teresa
Bosses and clients may say all of these things, but often actions speak the opposite message.
• The boss who leaves the building open at all hours or holds multiple, pointless meetings every week.
• The client who calls you morning and night . . . even after you’ve established that these are your “out of the office” times.
• Your own choice to stay late when your friends, your partner, your kids are waiting.
Work can steal time that you can’t buy back, making someone else’s time and needs more valuable than your own.
The well-meaning words “work-life balance” become a paper-thin mockery when people’s expectations take precedence over your personal life.
The Necessity of Becoming the Ouroboros
According to Dictionary.com, the Ouroboros, an image of the snake eating its tail, is a timeless symbol that has represented “creation through destruction” to many cultures.
So many of us have become the snake eating its own tail. We work to live and live to work. It’s an endless cycle. As our work life success grows, our relationships suffer. As we focus on our personal lives, we sacrifice work productivity.
Often, we realize that we’ve destroyed our personal lives to reach a dream of success in our careers. But bottoming out is necessary. We have to fail, to depart from our old patterns and routines in order to live better, to manage and juggle it all in a more effective way.
Becoming the Balance
Stephen Covey said, “the challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”
So . . . I’ve told you that you must depart from your old ways. What now? How do you become the work-life balance guru?
• To the single mom, struggling to feed her children and pay the rent . . .
• To the dad, the main breadwinner, with the pressure of the mortgage, the car payments, the college funds…
• To the single adult, who just moved back in with the ‘rents because student loans are the dark cloud siphoning his paycheck…
It’s truly difficult not to let work overtake you. Here are 5 tips to help you become the balance.
1. Embrace the Suck
You’re going to let someone down. Accept it. It sucks. It’s going to happen. It’s definitely happening right now. And don’t forget, that includes letting yourself down. So . . . embrace it.
Make a list of your top priority relationships. Then, decide which one is most important. Which one is least? Take a hard look. Top to bottom, and stick with it.
2. Reward Yourself
Work is hard. Home is hard. Responsibilities are everywhere. Treats don’t have to be extravagant or expensive.
• Take a long shower.
• A glass of wine and an hour to yourself.
• Date night.
• A long hike.
Reward yourself for your hard work.
3. Life Goal Check-in
You know that plan you made two years ago? A lot has changed since then. Check in with yourself.
• Reassess: Is this still the big picture? Am I still reaching for this goal?
• Re-evaluate: What do I need to change to get there? What’s working? What’s not?
• Redirect: Hone your skills. Redirect your efforts to work smarter and more efficiently.
4. Train Your Brain
Set yourself up for better decision-making. A healthy body begets a healthy mind. Sleep more. Eat better. Stay active. These three powerhouse tools will create a sharper mind and better decision-making.
5. A Word Of Caution
Dealing with clients and bosses and family can be daunting. In order to implement the 5 tips above, you’ll need to set boundaries with EVERYONE.
Maintain your boundaries. Once you’ve found those loyal, steady people in your life who will honor your boundaries, you may want to add them to your top priority list.
For example – clients who believe in your work, pay on time, and build a mutual partnership with you – once you have them, keep them. Those who are high maintenance and unable to respect your worth, let them go when you can.
As Doug Zeigler says, “Time is your most valuable thing. It’s worth more than any amount of money you can ever accumulate.”
You can’t make more time, so spend it wisely.
And if you need to lighten your workload with regards to web and/or graphic design, contact JEG DESIGN INC. today for your free estimate!
Written By Katrina Norman
Katrina has been a freelance writer for 15 years. To contact her, check out her LinkedIn page.