The truth about work/life balance

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I was recently inspired to share my opinion on work/life balance after reading this post on LinkedIn. The post featured the below infographic, along with a ‘recipe for leadership’ that includes 6 key ingredients for resilience, which I have paraphrased according to my interpretation:

  1. Align your working mindset to your personal values so that you can uphold your personal non-negotiables for both work and home life.
  2. Set intentions for what you want to achieve, and consider the journey along the way.
  3. Practice self-awareness so that you can recognise your emotions and respond intentionally, instead of reacting.
  4. Reflect on each day and possible reasons for how things unfolded.
  5. Consider other perspectives so that you can see the good each situation may bring, before jumping to the bad.
  6. Prioritise how you use your energy so that you also have time to rest, and engage in everyday practices that support this.

 

So here’s my two cents…

It is often said that people must keep their home life out of their work life and vice versa. But I strongly believe this wrongly leads people to think that we, as humans, have completely separate work and home personas.

The truth is that balance is something we constantly have to strive for every day. We actively have to seek balance because humans are complex creatures who cannot simply separate work versus home at the push of a button.

I recently decided to take a step away from work because it overflowed into my personal world too frequently. It consumed my mind because being creative is part of my being.

And creativity cannot be separated from either my work or home life because without creativity, I wouldn’t know who I am. There is only one me.

The end of a work day (no matter how exciting and fulfilling in my career) was leaving me with an empty cup because I had nothing left to give to my friends, my family, or myself.

You see, creativity is like a personal part of my soul.

In my spare time, I pushed creative activities to the side because this felt like work. I also felt too tired to exercise and I was inside so much I barely saw the sun, so I needed to supplement my vitamin D.

After nearly 15 years of honing my craft, I felt it necessary to seriously reassess my work/life balance. This careful consideration led me to take a sabbatical in which I’m currently exploring my creativity in other ways, and reconnecting with why I chose to turn my passion into my career in the first place.

A sabbatical is not a call to quit working. It’s a call to focus your energy on areas of your life that you feel need more of your attention.

The most important part of the work/life balancing act is the human holding the scale. Because work and life are inevitably intertwined, no matter how much your boss may say otherwise.

 

 

Words: Peaches

Infographic: What We Imagine When We Say “Work Life Balance” Versus The Reality. Source: agrassoblog, original LinkedIn post by David McLean, MA (Leadership) CHRL

Header image by: Max van den Oetelaar

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