Work Life Balance: Dispelling the Myth

Jamie Smith Coaching


What if I told you that work life balance is a myth and that it’s not a realistic goal to strive for? What you should be striving for instead is creating more balance in your life overall. After all, work is just one part of life, not half of it. Even though most of us spend about 1/3 of our lives working, there are so many other areas of our lives that need to be prioritized in order to create more life balance. You are capable of creating a life for yourself that allows space for all the areas of your life to co-exist peacefully. A life that feels like harmony is the goal rather than hustle.

How to create more balance

How do you create more balance in your life? It starts by you gaining some self awareness. You need to take a look at your life as a whole and ask yourself what areas of your life you might be neglecting. From what I’ve found to be true, most people spend most of their time and energy in only two areas of their life; work and family. But there are 6 other areas of life that need attention and nourishment. Those other areas are your personal interests or recreation, your physical health, your emotional health, your personal growth, your spirituality, and your social life.

A helpful activity to gain some awareness around how satisfied you are in each of these areas and how much time you spend in each of these areas is something called a Life Wheel. I do this activity with each of my clients and they always find it so eye opening.

It becomes the catalyst to creating positive change in their lives. If you don’t have access to a life wheel, you could just get a pen & paper out and write down the 8 different categories of life and rate each of them on a scale of 1-10 according to your satisfaction level. Then you could jot down a percentage of how much time you think you spend in each category. Doing this will help you realize where you might like to see change. Great questions to ask yourself as you reflect are: What would you like to do more of or less of in each category. Be sure to write all of this down so you can create a plan on how you’ll start creating the change you want to see.

The idea is not to start filling your calendar with an activity that relates to each of these 8 categories every day. This would probably just create more overwhelm in your life and that’s not the goal here. What you want to do to create more balance in your life is to incorporate more things on your schedule that support multiple areas of your life at the same time.

Here’s an example. Let’s say one of your hobbies is hiking so you make plans with a friend to go hiking in nature one day. This one activity would support your physical health, your personal interests or recreation, your social life, your spirituality because you’re connecting with nature, and your emotional health because you’re able to unplug and maybe practice some mindfulness as you walk. This 1 activity is supporting 5 areas of your life all at once. Now that’s what I call a life balance win.

Live with intention

The key is to schedule activities in advance that support your life in this way. We get so caught up in the daily demands that one day turns into a week before we know it and that one week turns into a month in the blink of an eye. We’re left wondering where the time went. When it comes to creating more balance in your life, the key is to be intentional. I can’t stress this word enough.

If for example you noticed after doing some reflection on your life that you were neglecting your relationships with some of your family members or friends. Saying that you want to start talking to them or seeing them more is one thing, actually doing that is a whole different thing. In order to talk to them more or see them more, you need to prioritize those tasks on your schedule the same way you make an appointment for work a priority.

So often our calendars are only filled with work and family obligations. What about all the rest? Where on your calendar or in your planner does it say: ‘Call your friend.’ If you want to start creating more balance in your life, then you need to use your systems that work so well for you in your work life, in your personal life as well.

I write down everything in my planner. If you opened my planner right now you would see things like ‘call your sister’, ‘take a salt bath’, ‘plan a fun trip’, ‘work out’, ‘meditate’. Creating the life you want to live takes real intention. And when intention is supported by systems and backed with action, you’ve got a recipe for some real magic in your life. And by magic, I mean balance.

Balance is one of my personal values so it very much guides me when I’m creating my schedule for a month, a week, and a day at a time. And whether it’s a personal value of yours or not, if you’re hoping to create more balance in your life, I suggest you write that word down where it’s visible to you on a daily basis to remind you of it’s importance. If you look at your calendar and all you see is work, work, work, family obligation after family obligation; chances are you aren’t feeling very balanced right now.

Stay focused on your vision

Another great way you can create more balance in your life is to remind yourself of your vision. Remind yourself of it often. When we get stuck in auto pilot and caught in the daily demand cycle, we lose sight of our vision. What kind of life are you hoping to create for yourself? When you look back one day and reflect on how happy you are with the life you lived, what do you want that picture to look like? Focus more on that big picture as you plan your months, weeks, and days. This will be the much-needed reminder that you have dreams, aspirations, and things to do in your life that mean a lot to you.

Creating more balance in your life is something that takes consistent effort for the long haul. And there will never be perfect balance. You have to listen to and pay attention to what you need. You have to reflect on how you spend most of your time and energy on a regular basis and make corrections when necessary. It’s natural for us to veer off course from time to time and to feel like we’re leaning way to far in one direction of our lives, but just like sailboat that gets blown away, you can always adjust the sails.

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