I can’t remember a time when someone wasn’t talking about work-life balance. Or life balance. Or just balance.
Many are looking for “the solution” but there is not a solution. At least not one approach that works equally well for all.
But there are choices. We are allowed a certain number of days off, and we decide when to sequence them (mostly) and what to do when we are away from work. Some of us can put work on the shelf at the end of the workday or week, and pick up where we left off the next work day. Others consider the problems or issues of their work when they are away, and are thinking about solutions. Some of us rarely disengage fully so we can give full attention to our spouses, partners, children, or even our hobbies. We choose to pay attention to work-related issues, even at times when we need to “be here now“.
On a recent walk through the dining district in Roswell, I spotted Santa enjoying a leisurely lunch. And why shouldn’t he? He works hard. His current project due date is over 6 months away. He won’t have this kind of time on his hands come November.
And yet, it appears he is keeping connected via the smart phone on his hip. I don’t know if that’s his work phone or his personal phone. As someone who carries both regularly, my current choice is to leave the work phone when I am with my family. That’s the choice.
For those of you thinking that as your kids get older you will have more time, you are wrong. You will have the same amount of time, and that portion that you currently spend with your younger children will go somewhere else. Where it goes is the choice you will make. More to work? More to your spouse or partner? More time for yourself? Will you make the choice purposefully, or will you wait to see what calls for and wins your attention?
My advice: whatever you are currently giving to work is probably too much, even if it is just the occasional email on the company phone. You want balance? Decide now what the balance is that you want, and practice ways to achieve it. You won’t be good at balance without practice. So practice – each and every day.