Work life balance has been sold to women as being the key to happiness by suggesting all we need to do is to simply find a way to better fill our roles without going crazy.
The bottom line message being (unfairly) sold to women is that if we would only prioritize our work lives better we would have more time to spend with friends, family, and on ourselves.
The trouble is, accomplishing more personal time requires a significant amount of work and the term ‘balance’ becomes moot.
Very few people can or would want to spend half their time working and half their time not working.
Many women struggle with finding better ways to balance work and life and often this guilt comes from outside sources like pressure from husbands, family, and friends.
Women continue to struggle with what is expected of them – or what they think is expected of them.
Women strive to be super wives, super moms, and career women. All the while, they stress
about getting older, gaining weight, and competing with younger women in the workforce.
Symptoms that you may be out of “balance”:
•Feeling overwhelmed and struggling to find “balance” with work and life in general?
•Not sure how to balance or feel more content with your overall life as it is?
•Contemplating a career change to better fit with your family’s life and needs?
•Planning on starting a family soon but worry about how this will work with your career?
•Returning to the workforce after taking a break?
•Searching for flexible work options or want to negotiate a flexible work arrangement with
your current employer?
•Thinking about starting your own business as a flexible option but are not sure where to
begin or what to do?
Although the concept of work-life balance often gets framed in the context of women who
are trying to balance motherhood and working outside the home, there’s really a much
larger conversation to be had. American society overall needs to respect the home lives of workers at a much greater level than we currently do.
How can we do better?
Set your priorities. Figure out what you want your priorities to be, not what you think they should be.
• Track your time. For one week, track how you spend your time.
• Build downtime into your schedule. When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge.
• Drop activities that sap your time or energy. Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.
• Rethink your errands. Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands.
• Exercise. It may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.
• Set realistic goals, like leaving the office earlier 1 night per week.
• Enlist family or friends to keep you accountable.
• Take a look at your personal habits and general lifestyle. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and bad exercise habits can cause you to feel a lack of balance in your life, and can counteract any efforts you are making to achieve work-life balance.
The best advice I can give is to give yourself a break. Let the dishes sit sometimes, don’t answer every single email as it comes in, take some time to enjoy the little things and remember that no one is perfect- even if they look it!