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How do you find balance?

Finding a perfect 50/50 balance between work and life is impossible. I know, I know, you may disagree with me, but do you know anyone who has done it? ...I didn't think so.

Balance is more of a teeter-totter... Remember the toys from your playground days when you would sit on one side and your friend would sit on the other. You would take turns kicking off the ground and soaring into the sky and then coming back down to earth. You always had to be careful who you choose to sit on the other side from you though; if they weighed quite a bit more or less, you would never be able to find a good rhythm, a good back and forth.

Balancing between work and home life is similar. At least it used to be, before the pandemic changed our commutes to a matter of steps instead of miles. Being 17 steps away from my desk makes it really easy to just check a quick email (or ten) before breakfast, or pop on right before bed to knock out the report someone asked for. Or have my daughter come in with a "quick" question in the middle of a meeting. Rather than the back and forth, it is like the teeter-totter is stuck in the middle.

With the boundaries of "work hours" still being blurred, it is more important than ever to create balance for ourselves. But how?

Two things need to happen:

  1. Create boundaries where they don't exist. This could be setting appropriate work hours. Or not allowing phone at the dinner table. Or taking 30 minutes for lunch away from work entirely. If you lead others, and you haven't done this already, do it now. Set a very clear expectation for your employees that you do not want them to respond at all hours, that you respect their time. In conjunction with this, be sure not to email them at all hours (otherwise you are sending a mixed message).

  2. Do one thing for you. Every day we are pulled into fulfilling the needs of other people. Clients demand requests, teammates need your help, your family still doesn't understand why you spend so much time on the computer. Choose one thing each day to do for you. Just for you. This could be taking a walk (alone, without your phone). Or watching a TV show that only you like. Or reading a chapter of a book.

For many of us, work fills a need to solve problems, to accomplish something, to fulfill a drive. That shouldn't go away. Creating boundaries and ensuring that you are doing at least one thing just for you will keep the teeter totter moving.


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