The "Myth" of Work-Life Balance

The "Myth" of Work-Life Balance

life

By Aisha Newton
Monster Contributing Writer


We often hear the term “Work-Life Balance” being bandied about. We have been conditioned to believe that there is magic formula for having it all. Men and women who firmly believe that if they work hard and are disciplined that they can make it work!  A good job, nice home, fancy car, money in the bank and loads of free time to spend with friends and family.
 
But is this reality? Can we actually achieve work life balance? I don’t know about you, but most days I am holding on by a thread. I’m barely awake and all I can think about is catching up on household chores, what I need to cook for supper, my latest deadline and how numerous family obligations have left me mired in sea of imbalance.  
 
When faced with these daily challenges, how could I possibly hope to achieve any true sense of balance or accomplishment?
 
For the average Canadian, daily life is more of a juggling act. There are day where we only have to juggle a few things, while other days seem like world record attempts. With such a seemingly insurmountable task facing us, why do we even bother? Especially when we know that the probability of failure is always looming. Why do we beat ourselves up, when we are unsuccessful at achieving a near impossible goal?
 
“I have never met a woman, or man, who stated emphatically, "Yes, I have it all.'" Because no matter what any of us has—and how grateful we are for what we have—no one has it all.”
 
First off I think we should give ourselves a pat on the back, we have made it this far and that deserves some recognition. To be extremely frank I believe that the whole notion of “Work-Life Balance” is outdated. With people working longer hours, commuting from further distances, I think it’s time to abandon the mantra of “Work-Life Balance”. The scales have tipped and instead of chasing after this "unattainable" goal, we should content ourselves to strive for a more harmonious existence.
 
Work-Life Harmony, is a term I’d like to see being used going forward. We can live far more peacefully in this manner. Living harmoniously doesn't require perfection, nor do you need to subscribe to exacting measures of success.
 
The whole idea of harmony allows you to follow a more natural ebb and flow. You can work within the construct of a schedule, while making accommodations for changes along the way. There will be days where everything follows a perfect plan. But we also need to be cognizant of the fact, that there are days that the original plan might not work. Sometimes despite our best efforts things go off the rails. Unscheduled meetings and urgent phone calls are unavoidable parts of the work day.
 
Feel free to create a new plan; don’t look at it as a failed attempt. Instead consider yourself the architect of your day. You have the freedom to change the blueprint to ensure things run smoothly. By allowing yourself the flexibility to adapt to different situations, it lessens your chance of a misstep and greatly increases your chances at accomplishing your goals.
 
In business, organizations must remain flexible in order to adapt with the changing needs of their consumers. The top companies rely heavily on Ingenuity to allow new products to be created and existing ones to be updated.
 
We need to allow ourselves the same amount of freedom. To achieve this harmony, make room in your schedule to tackle certain jobs; But give yourself carte-blanche to make a change when things don’t go according to plan. It’s ok to regroup and try a different approach.
 
I have decided to make some changes that will help facilitate my new attempts at harmony. One of the first things is acceptance. There are things that I can control and other that I simply cannot. I refuse to cause myself stress and anxiety over the minutia of daily life.  By letting go of the little things, I can open myself up to focus more time and energy on the important things in life.
 
I will let my family know when I’m on the clock and when I’m not. With young kids at home, it’s important that they know that sometimes Mommy has work to do. Equally important is to show them that when my work is done, I am there for them. That means turning off my smartphone and closing up my laptop.
 
Working from home can be challenging, there are lots of distractions and it can be hard to stay focused. As a stay at home mom of two kids under the age of 5, meeting their constant demands can be tricky.
 
 I have learned that the best way to get things done is working nights and evenings. It lessens the amount of distractions and their early bedtimes allow me to get a few hours of work done. As an added bonus I still have time to decompress and watch some television with my husband.
 
Nobody ever said life was easy; sometimes it’s busy and chaotic. But by looking to find more harmonious ways to work and play, we may just find that work-life balance isn’t everything it was cracked up to be anyway.