One of the many reasons that people decide to become self employed is because they feel that somehow they are missing out on their home life because they lack work/life balance in their employed career. The dream? To be able to do your work from home so that you can put a load of laundry on, prep the dinner, be there when the kids get home from school, stop your other half from complaining that you work too much all whilst being present in ALL your relationships and for yourself.
It’s certainly been a huge focus for me periodically throughout my career and there were times I often felt like I was totally drowning and far from experiencing the work/life balance thing. I mean what even is it really?
I don’t think the general vision of work/life balance is for everyone. I believe that there are a lot of people out there who either don’t need it or don’t want it and I respect that hugely. I myself have battled with the ‘dream’ of work life balance but realised over the last couple of years that it’s not possible for me in the traditional sense. You see work/life balance in it’s very essence is about separating the two and ensuring that they are both equally nurtured. I don’t enjoy the separation part, I find it incredibly stressful and the very acts required to get it make me feel unbalanced, oh the irony! I didn’t realise this for a long time but it was why I was never able to truly commit to finding the elusive work/life balance.
I personally am fuelled by both work and life, they intertwine utterly at the very core of who I am so separating them in order to find the balance is simply an impossible feat. Once I realised this I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I had spent years believing I was simply wired wrong when in actual fact I just loved bringing the two things together. I felt energised when I did and drained when I didn’t.
Who said we all have to be the same anyway!
I’ll be honest, this post was supposed to evolve into telling you how as a virtual assistant, I could help you find a better work/life balance. It was going to explain things like ‘how outsourcing your email to a virtual assistant could benefit your work/life balance and improve your business’. Instead I find myself telling you something a little different. I find myself saying stop it.
Stop worrying about work life balance and start thinking more deeply about the kind of person you are. My reasoning? How can you find balance if you don’t take notice of the scale on which you are measuring it first.
If you are like me and work and life intertwine then I would suggest it’s less of a work/life balance you’re looking for and more of an ability to do MORE of what you love in a way that benefits you, your family and your business. If you don’t want a work life balance at all because you want the life and not the work or the work is your life then good for you too. It’s all about assessing the reality of who you are and there is no shame in being any one of them.
Isn’t it about time that we were simply more honest with ourselves and each other?
I love talking about work, having my son aware of what I do and how I do it and I love him talking to me about how he would do it if he were me (there’s something fascinating about asking a child what they would do because the cut through all the red tape crap, the padded out bullshit and tell it like it is).
I also love that it makes him think about how he might do things differently in his own life. I want him involved because we are a team and I don’t want to put my relationship with him into a little box that only pops out when it comes to family. In addition to this some of my best ideas have come mid conversation whilst we are stuffing our faces and laughing at each others social media.
My partner is a ‘boxer’ by that I don’t mean he’d go ten rounds with Lennox Lewis and have a fighting chance, I mean he naturally separates his work from his home and prefers the two to be separate. Yes he always has his mobile on and responds almost immediately to work related items (regardless of what day of the week it is) but generally he leaves the office at the door at 5:30pm and doesn’t think about it until he’s arrives again the next day. In this respect we are perhaps an odd pairing but it actually works really well because we are subtly different but our dreams are the same.
I know many people who are career driven. They work 18 hour days and live and breath the business they’re in. They read all the updates, learn the knew tech and requirements and are more comfortable talking to and spending time with people in the same environment. I always envied their complete dedication to their careers and many of them have gone on to have fulfilling and loving relationships and families – as long as they find the yin to their yang.
So how to really get that elusive work/life balance? Throw out all preconceived notions of what that is and figure out who you are. Balance is about contentment and that relates so deeply to who you are rather than a checklist that you think you should be ticking off.
I love being in the thick of it at all times with work and family. Working from home allows me that happy medium. There are things I put in place to ensure that I get consistent time doing things and make sure we go out and do fun stuff as a family too but we will often be talking about the business or it will inspire something for the business when we do.
If you are desperate to find your work life/balance throw off the shackles of should and of what everyone else does and look to yourself. What makes you feel content? Where are you most comfortable? How does this look for your family? What do you enjoy the most?
Once you have been honest with yourself figure out which parts of your day to day do not resonate with that. Those things are the things you need to limit/reduce/remove or outsource and once they are not such a burden I am convinced you will generally feel like you have more balance. Don’t forget, you are not the variables you are the scale!
So be honest and dare to say it out loud, what does the mirror say to you?
Don’t forget that liking/sharing and commenting helps small businesses just like The Amy Johnson stay visible. Your support is appreciated.
Thank you for reading,