Because balance takes place in the midst of action.
Creating and maintaining a work-life balance is unique for each of us. It requires an ongoing commitment to life-giving choices that generate fulfillment and joy. Like walking a tightrope that requires careful consideration with each step — as we choose how to expand our time and energy, moment by moment — we are either moving toward a greater sense of alignment or away from it.
For decades, women have been talking about work-life balance and constantly seeking to find it between the demands of work, families, and personal priorities. Men are starting to join in on the balance conversation as well, as suggested in a recent Wall Street Journal article by Rachel Feintzeig, “Male CEOs Tell Us Their Work- Life Rules.” Now, even men are questioning the traditional divides between their professional lives and personal well-being.
A RICH STATE OF BEING, BALANCE REQUIRES CONTINUAL MONITORING AND THOUGHTFUL TUNING AS PRIORITIES CHANGE.
Fundamentally, as humans, balance is essential to our well-being, fulfillment, and overall ability to consistently perform at the highest levels. Continuing to churn through life as it swirls around us without being mindful of balance often leads to increased stress, unhappiness, and burnout.
For years, I tried to achieve a fixed state of balance by keeping life and work compartmentalized. My assumption was that if I nurtured each compartment with equal amounts of attention, my life would grow like a well-tended garden — orderly, in rows, with no plant creeping into a neighboring section, and certainly no weeds cluttering my well-planned space. My discovery has been that when life and work are interconnected, fluid, and sometimes a bit disorderly, I feel the most alive, creative, and whole.
When I am being the best version of myself, I move toward balance gracefully and playfully, constantly adjusting and assessing with a sense of curiosity, stretching myself to try something new. Sometimes losing balance along the way, yet being gentle with myself as I refocus on making choices that reflect my true priorities. Rarely do I achieve a perfect state of balance, but as I make choices that take me a step closer to my definition of balance, they begin to keep me there for longer periods of time. And it’s there where energy and creativity surge.
SEVEN STEPS TO BRING YOU CLOSER TO A WORK-LIFE BALANCE
- Gain perspective by assessing the various components of your life. Using a wheel of life that’s provided in my Self-Directed Guide to Creating Work-Life Balance, on a scale of 1-10 , 10 being the most satisfied, how satisfied are you currently with your health, career, personal relationships, finances, and environment?
- Identify your highest priorities and practice saying no to the requests and distractions that aren’t aligned with them. As Stephen Covey says, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.”
- Heed the warning signs of stress and burnout such as frequent illness, irritability, and fatigue. Practice self-care. Be especially gentle on yourself and others during these times.
- Create more time for the things that bring you joy. What things make you smile? Who in your life makes you laugh? Make more time for these feel-good endorphins every day. This alone can be very impactful.
- Make time to renew regularly and without guilt: take a short walk, read for pleasure, meditate, disconnect from your devices, or spend a few moments in nature. Makes these a habit for every day.
- Pausing and reflecting periodically. This will allow you to take notice of the impact of your choices and actions, and allow the good you’re doing your body, mind, and spirit to soak in.
- Continue to refine and adjust your unique approach to achieving balance. It’s a never- ending yet immensely rewarding journey.
Intentionally cultivating balance in your life will create powerful results. You will find yourself in an expansive, free-flowing, and highly energetic state doing the things that bring you the greatest joy, achieving what matters most, and living life to its fullest. Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.
Learn more at emilyrogers.com.