We are all in pursuit of it. And most of us are failing. Miserably.
Because we have an imbalanced view of what balance really is! (See what I did there?)
Many of us are attempting to have a fully 50/50 work-life balance.
Pretty much nothing in life is truly 50/50.
First off, LIFE is a pretty vague category. There are your friends. Your kids, if you have some. Your home. Oh yeah, and yourself.
Secondly, a life in transition, such as one going through a divorce, has a few more, very pressing things pulling on your time and attention. Attorneys, paperwork, your soon-to-be ex, important decisions like where you will live, if you have enough money, and how you will survive it all, just to name a few.
Thirdly, work and all it entails depends a LOT on what you do. Some jobs you walk out the door at 5p and don’t have to give it a second thought till you walk back in the door at 8a the next day.
Other jobs keep you on email, phone calls, deadlines, and schedules. Some creative types must work when the juices are flowing.
Just looking through this list may be enough to get the hyperventilation going!
How can you possibly balance all the demands in your life?
And that’s okay.
Our lives are not about fitting everything into neat little equal rows.
Sometimes work is easy – no deadlines looming, a great and understanding boss, amazing customers, etc. Awesome!
Sometimes work is out of control crazy – projects due, frazzled boss, and demanding clients. EEK!
Sometimes your kids are sick. Sometimes your friends are going through a tough time and really need you. Sometimes you are exhausted and need to recharge. Sometimes your roof is leaking and needs to be attended to.
And sometimes….all these things seem to collide at once.
This is where we really get into trouble.
Our attempts to balance it all go haywire and it’s not long before we are a miserable lump on the floor, wondering how we will get up and face the next day.
Here’s how you are going to do it:
- Think “alignment” rather than balance. Instead of trying to give the exact amount of attention and energy to everything in our world, focus on keeping your world aligned in the same direction – forward.
- Learn to prioritize. When work is going nuts, and your 14-year-old has a project due at school, guess what? Your job keeps a roof over your head and your 14-year-old is actually responsible for their own work. If you fail at your job – no roof over your head. If your 14-year-old fails at their school project – they learn to handle their own stuff in a more timely manner. What’s ultimately more important at this moment?
- Ask for help. We are SO not an ask for help society, but guess what? Nobody does it alone. Delegate some of your work or ask your boss for a more flexible timeline. See if your neighbor can carpool once a week. Wrangle in a few of your friends to help prep some meals for the new mom in your group. Trade a day of babysitting with another mom so you can each get some time to yourself. If possible, hire a professional fill in the blank to help with whatever is most pressing.
- Let go of perfectionism. This is a biggie. Done always trumps perfect. I’m not saying don’t give your best shot. But endless tweaking of a project, polishing the silver you never use, volunteering to head up every committee so you can be the best parent – these things do not add to your life. And if it doesn’t add to your life it doesn’t belong in your life! Do a good job – and then let it go.
- Put yourself at the top of the list. Yes. Be a little selfish. If you are a train wreck, running on no sleep and a carafe of coffee, frankly you aren’t doing anyone much good, least of all yourself. It could be a spa day – if that’s possible for you, go for it! But it could just be a couple of hours to Netflix and chill – sans kids, friends, email or texts. Just let yourself BE.
- This too shall pass. If you’re one of my regular readers, you are likely embroiled in a divorce. This amps everything else up to a 10! But, even though it feels like hell now, it will end eventually. It really will. Sometimes your best alignment is just putting one foot in front of the other.
Life pulls you in many directions, sometimes seemingly all at once. It can feel like an out of control mess.
You can control the mess though.
Not the fact that there is messiness, because, well, LIFE. But how you react to it, how you handle it, that’s where you find your alignment.
And when all else fails, there’s always 10 minutes in the closet with a chocolate bar and some deep breaths!
P.S. Did you get everything you needed from this article? No? Maybe it’s time for a little more.
My goal is to meet you where you are and walk with you until you’re ready to set out again. A little strategy goes a long way. Let’s set up a mini-strategy session to get you started!
And don’t forget to grab your FREE Divorce Survival Kit before you go!