Everyone talks about work life balance, or blend or flexibility and I just want to say I think it is a total fallacy. I’m a juggling Mumpreneur with several businesses and two small children and I have strived exceptionally hard to create balance and seen others strive too – but let’s be honest here… we are all failing miserably.
As soon as we recognise that there is no such thing as balance, we can pivot and shift our focus to managing the imbalance to create genuine flow, productivity, happiness and the wonder in our lives. In my research and experience, the only way we can achieve actual balance (aka “The Wonder Zone”) is with good old fashioned boundaries and by managing the imbalance.
I’m one of those people who takes life by the horns and creates the life of my dreams. I’m a qualified hypnotherapist, NLP Master, Reiki Master and Crystal Healer not to mention a Design Thinking and Innovation Coach, so I tend to have a lot of ideas when it comes to solving complex problems or hacking the status quo to hit The Wonder Zone as I like to call it. The Wonder Zone is a space where you are in harmony, you are productive, creative, happy, healthy and in flow. It is pretty much the unicorn of psychological states and I spend most of my days chasing it.
Last year, after several years of working from home as an energetic mumpreneur, working flexibly and juggling things like a pro – I woke up one day in December and realised my life had become a total muddy puddle. There were no boundaries. There was no flow and I was feeling incredibly stressed. I felt really vulnerable and foolish as I had genuinely felt I was living the picture of balance, flexibility and flow only to realise I was not living the dream, in fact I was trudging along in some sort of murky mess destined for failure, illness, disaster.
I’m not one to sit around pontificating about anything for very long, as an action oriented human the first thing I did was get my curiosity on and dig deep to understand what was going wrong and how I could fix it. With wonder as my guide, I curiously said yes to online courses about stress management, calm parenting and finding flow. By December 31st I had completed 5 online courses and read 6 books. It was New Years Eve when the sun was shining, the girls were playing and I found myself sat on a sun lounge by the pool reading Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of not giving a F#ck” that suddenly, like lightening it hit me. Everything I’d been learning came into crystal clear vision and I was suddenly aware – I have no boundaries. Like none, not even a little bit. I work from home, with kids and my partner and I am working on multiple projects and I am giving all of my energy all of the time to everything and everyone. I have no balance… but I have no balance because I have no boundaries. It was time for me to take back control.
I love to picture one of those scales when I think of balance. The reason I like this is because it helps demonstrate that for things to be in balance, flow, the wonder zone or whatever you want to call it… there needs to be some stuff on one side and some stuff on another side. This represents boundaries. The other thing is that the “stuff” is all in neat little parcels, like you can’t imagine lumps of slime melting into each other on each side of the scales, this is messy, so each of the elements is individual and has boundaries too. Stick with me, I have a point…
For us to strike a balance, we need to do a little clean up, we need to take back control. We need to put up some boundaries and create some lines. We need to sort and prioritise and line things up. We need to get the sides right and work out what goes where.
It all sort of crept up on us really, first we could access our emails remotely from home with a login, then we had our emails on our phones, before we knew it we were available 24 x 7 to anyone and everyone – work, friends, family – the illusion of privacy and the 40 hour work week slowly disintegrated into a big muddy puddle of doom. It is time that we take back control and put in place some guidelines.
How long should it take to reply to an email, a text message, a voicemail, a handwritten letter? When I first started work email was still hand in hand with the good old fashioned land line for communication from the office. Face to face and ‘meetings’ were still king and emails were a way to send documents, send chase ups etc. Over time, the blur between the modes of communication had become rather messy and people’s expectations in terms of availability and turnaround are freakishly out of control. I could rant on here for pages about the need for us to rethink communications at work and for play – but instead I’m going to jump straight to my top 10 ways to get more balance in your life…
Hopefully some of these resonate for you and give you a little more balance back today, tomorrow and next week! Keep at it and before you know it, life will be in sweet and wondrous flow.
Come and restore your balance with me at our female only Business Retreat in Fiji this October 24-28th www.nurtureher.com