Is work-life balance really a myth? Is it something for men as well as women? YES!
Every now and then, I pop over and read the fabulous musings of Cali Yost. She’s an expert blogger on the work-life subject for Fast Company and hosts her own site at the Flex+Strategy Group. I like Cali’s content. And I agree with her: work-life BALANCE is something of a myth. She prefers the phrase “work-life fit.”
Fit. I like that. After all, have we ever, for a single day, truly had “balance” in our lives?
Corporations preach it in their recruiting materials and employee benefits books. Day cares and preschools offer to help us out with it. But if I concede that there’s not really a balance and it’s more of a “fit,” then I think we’re well on our way to making some progress in these days that we live that are brimming with non-stop activity.
It’s pretty simple to see when things are off-kilter: we stay at the office too late, answer emails at odd hours from our smart phones and our voicemail inboxes fill up like the laundry basket.
I put together three tips that you can start using TODAY to make your work-life balance a bit more balanced. Put on your life like it fits and stop trying to button that top button when you had the extra helping of your neighbor’s awesome potato salad at the picnic last night!
Work-Life Balance Tip #1: Take Lunch
Yes, I’m crazy. And I’m telling you to take lunch. Whether you work from home or in an office, step away from your work domain for a minimum of thirty minutes. Stop scheduling conference calls during lunch. Don’t answer your phone or smart phone. Don’t respond to emails. Unplug – and see how much easier it is to plug back in.
Work-Life Balance Tip #2: Hard Stops
Not unlike taking lunch, give yourself a “hard stop” at least two days a week. This means that at 5 P.M. (or whatever time you determine), you call it a day. Not five minutes later and no excuses. Go DO SOMETHING (and enjoy it). Your inbox will still be there in the morning (and your family and friends will thank you).
Work-Life Balance Tip #3: Ask for Help
If you’re simply afraid that you can’t get everything done and the act of trying is what’s putting you off-kilter, ask for help. Hire a virtual assistant, a house cleaner or one of your teenagers to do some of the running around.
Whatever the solution, asking for help doesn’t have to be expensive or worst of all, humiliating. It can be empowering and free you up to do the things you both need and want to! Take a tip from one of my previous entries on how to offer support. It’s easier to lend and GIVE support than you might think!