How You Can Achieve More Work/Life Balance

How do you define the word “Balance?”

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “work/life balance?”

When I talk about achieving work/life balance, many people automatically assume I am talking about working less and wanting to spend more time with family, friends or exercising – pretty much – those are the top three.

But what if it’s the other way around?

What if you wish you were working more?

Or what if you are working plenty but would really prefer to love your job?

What if work/life balance was more of a FEELING or an EXPERIENCE rather than an actual equal distribution of work and life?

A check-in with Webster defines balance as:

“a means of judging or deciding”

“an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements”

“mental and emotional steadiness”

I’m not hearing “equal parts” here anywhere. Instead, I’m hearing that balance means to be steady; it’s about choosing; it’s about what feels right to you.

'Work/Life balance means to be steady; about choosing; what feels right to you.' ~Susan ElfordClick To Tweet

How does that change your definition of work/life balance?

I found myself thinking about this again lately as I am madly scrambling to get a lot of work off my desk before things get crazy. I have houseguests for a family wedding coming and then March break when the kids are off from school and then we go on our annual Spring Break vacation.

I found myself grumbling to myself about:

  • not having enough time
  • how was I ever going to get all my work done? and
  • if I didn’t work from home, I wouldn’t feel so pulled in all directions…

Or would I?

This is when I had to give myself a little wake-up call.

Working from home provides me with the flexibility I went into business for myself to achieve in the first place.

It gives me control over my time.

It gives me the flexibility to be there for my family when they need me.

It gives me the opportunity to take random days off work to serve other priorities I have in my life other than work.

It gives me balance.

What do you need in your typical day to give you balance?

I also interchangeably use the word balance to describe a sense of fulfillment and happiness. It doesn’t matter if you are working 70 hours a week, or 10, or none at all, if you are enjoying an “aesthetically pleasing integration of elements” as Webster says, then you are balanced.

In my effort to find the perfect blend of work and life for myself, I developed a formula.

Crazy as that may sound, it works! I call it the Personal Balance Equation. It’s an equation for individuals to create their own definition of balance. It’s a combination of your values, your priorities and working towards your goals.

What are important priorities for you to include in your days? What values need to be exhibited for you to experience that sense of “mental and emotional steadiness?”

Have you made time to work towards your big picture goals so it doesn’t feel like life is passing you by? When you sit back at the end of a day, are you pleased with how you spent your time? If not, what would you change?

The oxymoron behind my own daily attempt at achieving work/life balance is that I often find myself blocking out the very people I am doing it for!

What a wake-up call that was.

I am working from home so I can be there for my family at a moment’s notice – not so that I can consistently block them out and create boundary after boundary to ensure they don’t interrupt me.

Sure, we need some boundaries, but when they become concrete walls are they really serving you…. or me…. or the other people in your life?

Whether you are a solopreneur, a small business owner or on the corporate career track, if this is speaking to you, think about what it is you need in your life to feel balanced. What – or who – do you need to prioritize to ensure you experience what you are looking for?

And if just moving the pieces around doesn’t solve the problem, what bigger issue do you need to look at changing?

What is one thing you can do TODAY to improve your own Personal Balance Equation? I’d love to hear. Write it in the comments below or message me.

Here’s mine: this week, I commit to lightening up my boundaries so I can experience more life with the people I am doing it all for.

If you’d like to receive regular doses of Balancing Your Total Life in your inbox twice a month, sign up here so you don’t miss a single issue! You will be joining a community of like-minded, career-loving, life-balancing, go-getters who want to make the most of every single day.

Susan Elford

PR Launchpad Guidebook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and PR Strategist who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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