Work-life balance is not what you think
Most of us think of work-life balance as balancing our time and energies between work and the home front. Fitting in all our responsibilities, with enough time for a bit of rest and recovery, or some scheduled exercise and fun.
But really, work-life balance is not so much the ability to juggle our time, but rather, mindfully and intentionally pursuing our goals in accordance with our values. In other words, organising our lives to make sure we’re giving our energies to the things that are most important to us. Because, when we live our lives in balance with what’s most important, our life makes sense to us, feels “right” and we feel satisfied and happy. And when we don’t, we feel restless, irritable, and unhappy.
So, what might this look like in real life? I’ve had clients with hugely different scenarios. For instance:
- Choosing to work full time because right now her future financial security is her primary focus
- Waiting for the right job - with an employer supporting flexible hours - because it’s vital for her to be able to escape the office or work from home when her kids fall sick
- Choosing a job with a big corporate because she’s happiest when connecting with people face-to-face and gets a buzz out of working in a team environment
- Leaving the big corporate as she just doesn’t flourish in their competitive environment
- Choosing to put work on hold temporarily because she dreams of a career change is committed to studying part time
- Both partners choosing to work part time because they value the chance to co-parent their kids equally
That’s why there’s no “formula” for healthy work-life balance; because everyone has different values, goals, strengths and backstories. There’s no right or wrong, just what feels authentic and serves you best at this juncture in your life.
In my coaching practice, I love to help clients work out exactly what is important to them so they can make plans and make decisions confidently, with a sense of direction and control. Often this is the part people don’t take the time to do. Most people spend more time planning their annual holiday than planning their life! No wonder so many people feel stuck with what they’re doing, hating their job or not knowing what their next steps might be.
Debra Close is a founding member of the FlexCoach panel of career and executive coaches. If you’d like help determining your next step in work and life, connect with her direct through her profile page