As a parent 99.9% of the time – balance doesn’t exist.
Something always drops.
- Effective week at work? Home looks buried in a mess.
- House miraculously spit-spot? Family life suffered as you cleaned.
- Plentiful family bonding time? Often leads to an overwhelming work week.
Really, how often is: you home clean, your to-do-list cleared, and your family time together abundant – all simultaneously?
NEVER. (Or at least VERY rarely in my experience.)
Work-Life balance (in my mind) is a myth. Occasionally I feel like I can see its hazy shadows appearing in the distant future, however usually (just as quickly as it appears) it slips out of sight. I’ve begun to believe that finding a lasting balance just isn’t possible.
But prioritizing… well that’s another matter, and something a little more controllable. And prioritizing is the 1st step I needed to take in order reclaim my own work-life sanity.
Step 1: Prioritize
Often as a busy parent, I loose myself in the act of merely surviving my day – putting one step painstakingly in front of the other – day after day after monotonous day. Time to look ahead never seems to be available, however one always manages to find the time to look back at what went wrong.
Why is it that we allow ourselves so much time to focus on past mistakes, when we should be using these precious moments to instead look at something we can actually change in the future?
A couple weeks ago I had a moment. A < I-can-barely-pull-my-head-out-of-the-toy-cluttered floors, my-paper-filled-office-desk and my-endless-hours-of-chauffeuring-services > moment.
When (after a couple days of sulking and despair and oh-woe-is-me self pity) it hit me.
Somewhere along the way I forgot about priorities.
I had been reflecting and not prioritizing, panicking and not planning, putting one foot in front of the other and not taking the time I needed to look towards the next mile marker along the road I was dangerously, blindly traveling.
I came to the conclusion that the first step to a better mix between my work and my life began with:
Re-focusing on my priorities.
So I started to mentally list and envision my own ideal goals.
I asked myself the question: In a perfect “balanced” life – what should my time reflect?
This is what I came up with.
- Be able to fully separate family time from work time
- Be available for my kids before and after school (ie. when they are home)
- Have a distinct time and conscious plan to effectively complete my paid and volunteer work
- Make a conscious, planned effort to do something for myself (beyond just my work and my family)
This was the beginning of my plan to take back my sunken sanity.
STEP 1: Prioritize. Think about, envision and determine my work-life priorities.
Next up, Step 2: Finding Time – because establishing priorities and acting on these priorities are beyond a doubt TWO SEPARATE THINGS.
Leave a Comment: Do you spend most of your time merely attempting to get through your busy day? If you were to list your own work-life priorities what would they be?
I frequently hear myself saying: “If only I had just a little more time.”
Time can easily escape me (especially since becoming a parent), and often I feel as though my life reflects a circus juggling act of work, family and whatever other balls happen to be tossed in.
Recently I’ve discover that by investing only 15-30 additional minutes each week, I am able to constantly “find more time” in my busy week. The post you just read is the 1st of 3 steps I use to help better manage my busy days. The full series will include: Step 2: Find Time and Step 3: Locate Solutions Within Limits (both soon to be published).
Maybe my 3-step solution can help you too?
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