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Achieving Work/Life Balance - Articles Surfing
Question: How can I achieve work/life balance?
If you mean that Nirvana-like state where you are successful, fulfilled and happy at work and at home, the short, brutal answer is that you probably won't. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't wrestle with the issues.
There are lots of myths about work/life balance. Here they are, along with some of the corresponding realities.
The first myth is encapsulated in the language we use. The issue really isn't about work/life balance at all.
Reality: the problem is not about balancing work and life. It's about making choices about different parts of life and their importance just now. Work is a part of life. So is being a spouse, a friend, and a parent. So is caring for yourself and growing.
This is not balance like on a scale. This is balance like choosing the mix of ingredients that go into a fine salad or complex soup. The ingredients not only have their own flavor and texture, they also affect the flavor of other ingredients and contrast or complement the textures.
Myth: you can have it all.
Reality: you can have it all. But you probably can't have it all at once. There are times in your life when it's vitally important to pay attention to your career. At other times, family concerns may be more important. Sometimes the important thing is education. Sometimes it's putting back money for retirement.
I like to think of those choices as an act of juggling. Every now and then one of the balls you're juggling will drop to the floor because you're paying too much attention to the other balls. That's OK most of the time
But some of the balls you're juggling are glass balls. If they drop, they break, and often can't be put back together again. Relationships are often glass balls.
Myth: it's possible to keep life in little boxes and keep each one under control. Life is a collection of individual areas.
Reality: Life is a giant system made up of interconnected parts that affect each other. Life is about trade-offs.
If you take time to go to the gym, you can't use that time to shop for groceries. The money you spend on self-development courses will probably affect what you spend on vacation or what you put back for the college fund for your kids. When you're on a business trip, you can't be at the dance recital.
The trick is to make the choices yourself instead of letting them happen to you. Set your priorities. Make your choices in line with them. Many successful people, for example, believe that family time is important. They act on that belief by scheduling that time first, every year or month or week.
Myth: anyone can achieve a good level of balance if they work hard to do it.
Reality: In today's world, real "balance" is often a luxury for those who have lots of money. It's true that money can't buy happiness, but money can buy a vacation where you spend time with the family. It can buy a housecleaner, cook, or nanny and free up time you can spend with your spouse. It can pay the tuition on a college degree.
That doesn't mean you can't achieve some balance in your life. It does mean that there are limits on what you can do. Shaking your fist at the sky about them will do very little good.
Myth: my company will help me achieve balance.
Reality: Many workplaces today are not much different than third grade classrooms. You may not need a hall pass to go to the restroom, but you probably need permission to take the afternoon off for a school field trip, or you have to lie about what you're doing and take a sick day.
If you're going to achieve any kind of work/life balance, it's going to be up to you. Set your priorities. Then make your choices based on those priorities.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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