I used to strive for work-life balance, the sweet spot where I had my time carved up in the correct proportions for everything I needed to do and all the components carefully stacked on both sides of the scale to maintain equilibrium. But I kept finding that, no matter how many different ways I divided up the pie that was a set twenty-four hours a day, there was always a larger piece. Some portion of what needed to be done didn’t fit on the scale and ended up joining the pile of discarded pieces lying on the ground under the scale. Either that; or the scale was tipped to one side or the other.
But still I kept trying to maintain equilibrium between WORK and LIFE. I tried redefining what went into each section, moving the smaller pieces around to try and get them to fit without moving past the tipping point. I redefined work, redefined life, moved writing from the life side to the work side and then back again. The constant scurry of trying to figure out how to achieve balance eventually needed its own block – which I then had to fit on one side or the other.
Eventually I just said, ‘to heck with it’. Well, I said something more satisfying and a lot less delicate.
I kicked the scale under my desk and ignored it.
I stopped worrying about what I should be doing and just did what I needed to do. If I have a project to complete, I work until I feel the gears slipping. If I have errands to run, I do as many as I can and do more the next time I have to go out. If I have a competition deadline looming, I put my head down and write until the words start to blur.
I still set reminders on my phone, I still keep project notebooks and I still write To Do lists. I use the phone reminders for a lot more things now – if something has a time or date attached, it’s on my phone. The project notebooks are full of scribbles – no-one’s going to read them, so I’ve stopped editing what I put in them. The To Do lists are no longer daily, weekly or monthly lists – there is one master list with everything on it. I look at the list daily, adding new items, removing items past their sell-by date – I even doodle on the page if I feel like it.
I’ve let go of the notion that I have to have balance. I’m okay with not trying to fit everything in. I’m okay with a messy schedule, with daydreaming or working till the wee hours if I need to. I’m less stressed, I smile more and I’ve even lost a couple of pounds.
And a funny thing has happened – more of what needs to get done; gets done.
It’s seems I’m not the only one, according to this article from Forbes – R.I.P Work-Life Balance.
– Linda –