I’m not sure when work-life balance became such a hot topic but I do know it’s more and more sought after as we continue being asked to do more with less. (Right now, I’m going to avoid getting on my soap box and rant about the ridiculously irrational expectations of women in this day and age and save that for another post!)
I’m a mama, so it’s important to me that I actually get to spend quality time with kids. I also run my own business and love the work I do…and need the income.
But you know, I also like to spend time with my husband that doesn’t involve housework or talking about our two littles. I like to connect with friends. I like to work out. I like to read. I like to take vacations and a whole bunch of other things!
AND I WANT IT ALL!!!
Does that make me unreasonable? Does that make me entitled? Honestly, I don’t really care.
How do I get to experience it all? I need to find my work-life balance!
Here’s the thing though, balance by definition means that things are even, equal and constant. I don’t know about you but if I’m working with that definition, work-life balance DOES NOT EXIST!
LET’S TALK ABOUT WORK LIFE
Boundaries help shape your schedule and allow you to be intentional with how you spend your time. It’s not a guarantee that you will get to fit in everything your heart desires, but it will give you opportunities to make mindful decisions instead of reacting to everything while enjoying nothing.
The definition of boundary is “a line that marks the limit of an area” and good boundaries are clear, firm, maintained and can be flexible if necessary.
Here’s an example from my life:
My work day ends at 4:30 PM every single day. Ending at 4:30 gives me time with my family so we can make dinner, connect and do bedtime as a foursome. This boundary means I have enough work time during the day to get my job done. It also means I don’t get to pick my kids up from school. I know what I’m giving up and what I’ll get in return and it’s okay because I’m choosing it intentionally. My family and my clients know that my day ends at 4:30 PM. I’m also reminded by a calendar notice when family time begins. Because it is clear, firm and maintained, needing the flexibility to work later rarely happens.
If you too want to start enjoying work-life boundaries, here are the four questions you need to answer to find what’s right for you.
The Foundation (aka the non-negotiables)
- What commitments have you already made that you MUST honor otherwise you will experience some kind of significant impact?
- How much sleep do you need and when do you sleep?
- What work hours are required of you? Or, what work hours do you need to uphold to be successful?
- What activities do you need to do every day to keep you whole and healthy? (Exercise, family time, date night, etc.)
Determining the right boundaries may take some trial and error, so if your boundaries are consistently crossed, consider perhaps that you set the wrong boundaries, or haven’t communicated your boundaries to those around you. If you take some time to reflect on your life and set up some of these boundaries, I know you’ll start feeling like you are living your own, unique version of having it all.