Let’s be honest. Life can overwhelm us sometimes.
When you’ve had a tough 8+ hours at the office – only to come home and discover an unsettled family situation, you ask yourself: Can work and home life ever be balanced?
Then the second guessing starts: Am I too “devoted” to the office?
Guilt is next on the list: Am I not spending enough time with my family?
You’re not alone.
Juggling work and home is a challenge that affects working women and men worldwide.
It’s All Up to You
From 1986 to 1996, work-life balance was mentioned 32 times in the media.
In 2007, it was mentioned 1,674 times.
Obviously, it’s a big issue for working families everywhere.
A Time article by Eric Barker put one basic fact up front: “Thinking that if you spend enough time you will ‘get everything done’ is an illusion. You will never be ‘done’.”
How often do we think that we can do it all? We need to be real and acknowledge that no one can do it all. No one is perfect.
But what we can do is learn to delegate. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Lean on those strengths.
At the office, delegate the work to the best person for the job. At home, follow the same policy. Delegate the laundry – it’s not such a big deal. Delegate some of the food prep. Work together and see accomplishments. Avoid fighting – which accomplishes nothing and actually wastes time. Like the old adage says, many hands do indeed make light work!
It May Not Be “Perfect”… But its Meaningful
In an HBR article, the authors drew on five years’ worth of interviews with nearly 4,000 executives from all over the world. Their research revealed that complete balance between work and home is an illusion. But by aligning with our values, making careful choices, and being diligent, we can achieve a sense of equilibrium.
We must decide what we want our lives to look like. A good starting point is to examine your definition of what you want your home life to be like.
Many women feel pressured by cultural and societal expectations. They feel emotional guilt for not spending enough time with their children and families.
Yet, some have found innovative ways to overcome this guilt. The Harvard research team found that some executives will choose one particular aspect of their children’s life – like soccer games – and never miss one. They prioritize the events just as they would a business meeting.
Work Zone Vs. Comfort Zone
“Life is a balance of holding on, letting go, and knowing when to do which of the two.”
Carve out an area of your home that you’ll use just for work, adding whatever that you’ll need to make it a workspace, like your computer, books and other references, and just about anything else you’d use for working. Keep this space separate – this is your work zone.
Only work in your designated “zone” – this will help prevent you from allowing work to spill over into other areas of your “home” life. Also carve out some “me space” in your home – a whole room or just a little spot – that’s just for you. Fill it with the things you love. Even if you’re a minimalist, you can add fresh floral cuttings to offer brightness and add dimension.
Use your “comfort zone” as a sanctuary where you can go to escape, relax, and return refreshed and ready to tackle the next challenge.
Try a Little Tenderness Today
And when you need a productivity boost, try tenderness. Yes, tenderness.
Think about a time when you were fatigued and stressed. When you took a time out to exercise, nap, or just take a half-day off, I but you got a lot more done when you returned to work, right?
What about the way you talk to yourself when you’ve made a mistake? Do you tell yourself you’re the worst person/manager/parent/spouse in the world – or do you give yourself credit for trying and being human?
I’ve found that tenderness has helped me to soften my perception of myself, and in doing so, to make fewer mistakes and even improve my performance more quickly than I’m sure I would have if I would have continued to beat myself up over something.
The next time you’re ready to dig into yourself with harsh words, try repeating a gentle phrase instead, like “That’s ok…I’m human…everyone makes mistakes sometimes.” Do your best to integrate tenderness into your everyday life as well – practice good self-care, try yoga or mediation, get a massage – and give yourself permission to just “be.”
If you’re looking for creative ways to establish balance in your life, I have exciting news! On March 31 to April 3, my brand-new online training event, Ladies’ Leadership Secrets, will be featuring over 20 powerful, successful women who are sharing all the tools you’ll ever need to balance your life, follow your calling, and rock your world in ways you never thought possible!
Claim your FREE spot by clicking here.
Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Colleen Slaughter, Proud Executive Coach to the UN World Food Program, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
As an Executive Coach for Women in Leadership and Transformational Facilitator, my intention is to help leaders in positions of high influence to understand their worth at a profound level.
Supporting women leaders to truly thrive and step into their greatness, while succeeding in male-dominated industries and spaces is my native genius.
My technique and approach show you how to achieve incredible career success without compromising any part of who you are and what makes you magnificent.