Balance doesn't mean giving equal amounts of time and energy to everything, it's about giving the right amount of time and energy to the right things and it's different for everyone.
So let me be totally honest here. For a long time, I truly believed that work life balance meant giving the same amount of time and energy to both your personal life and your work life. I struggled to get enough time and energy available for my family while still trying to work full time, build a business, do the cooking and cleaning.
Want to know what the result was? Work colleagues worried about the pace I was working at, the business never seemed to get any traction, and my family seemed to be on edge around me. I mean my daughter stopped asking me to play with her because she was worried she wasbothering me or stressing me out. How sad is that?
At the end of the day I had to figure out what does everyone need from me?
- My day job - they need me to be present and engaged for my 35 hours a week and the occasionaly staff meeting or after hours event.
- My business - it needs me to be consitent in answering emails and engaging online. It needs me to get out a few times a month to network with awesome people. And weeks when I have bookings it needs me for consults, shoots, editting, and sales sessions. When I don't have sessions - I can work ahead on new ideas and learning new things...or I can spend more time with my family.
- My Family - Turns out my husband and daughter (12 yrs old) are pretty independent. They need me fully present and engaged at least one full week night and one weekend day each week. Other than that, they are happy to spend time with me when it works with everything else.
- Myself - well, I need to actually appear somewhere in my schedule so here's what I decided. I need 30mins every morning to plan my day, embrace some gratitude, and start the day right. I need 30mins of reading some kind of fiction before bed each night. and I need an hour or two on the weekend to paint, give myself a facial, or curl up with a book and just chill out.
Some days the business is super busy and it needs all my time and attention.
Sometimes my daughter is having a rough week with preteen drama at school and she needs me.
With the outline above - I have the flexibility to put my extra time and energy wherever it will serve us best and know that all the things that need to happen still happen.
What does balance look like for you?