In this episode we’ll discuss the topic of Work Life Balance.
This term gets thrown around a lot by experts and generally refers to your ability to manage both your professional and personal life in a way that promotes harmony and balance.
So let’s deep dive into what work life balance is NOT and talk about ways for you to actually achieve it.
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
What is work life balance and what it is not
Why work life balance is so important
How to improve our own inner balance
How to lower your stress to achieve greater professional and personal balanace
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hello, hello, welcome to Happy Productive episode number 21. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. The Happy Productive podcast is your go-to resource for learning how to bring awareness into your productivity, your goals, and your time management practices. So you can set yourself up each day for as much love happiness and joy as you can possibly handle.
Today we’re going to be talking about work life balance. Okay, so let’s dive into this all too popular concept right and what really is work life balance? We hear this term thrown around by so many experts these days and you hear them like change it up as well and go it’s not about work life balance about it’s about work life integration, or there is no such thing as work life balance, right? They have all kinds of different spins on it. And that’s fine, but generally when we’re speaking about work life balance, we’re talking about your ability to manage your responsibilities, and your relationships in a harmonious way, all throughout life so that you’re not feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, or super stressed out, right?
Because when you’re out of balance, everything in your life can suffer. So really the idea of work life balance is kind of about that integration between your professional work and your personal life. Now, I want to start this off with talking about what work life balance is not. Okay, now if you google work life balance, you’re going to get a whole lot of articles all about what it is. I did it, I wanted to see was everybody teaching about work life balance, and pretty much everybody out there is going to tell you it’s all about scheduling, and things that they say that you need to do to schedule better, right?
Setting your priorities, tracking your time, focusing on one project at a time, planning a vacation planning time off, asking for help, doing the work to improve your personal habits. And I’m going to agree all of these are very, very good things. Guys, I created Best Planner Ever clearly, I love scheduling. I’m not gonna say that scheduling isn’t an important piece of this.
But there’s a huge piece that everybody is missing. Because work life balance is not about better scheduling, scheduling as an external thing that we do. It’s really about better balance inside ourselves, okay, the balance comes from within us. And when we’re balanced on the inside, it actually matters so much less about what you’re actually doing on the outside, because you’ll bring that balance with you.
And let me just explain a little bit here of what I’m talking about. But generally the concept I really want you to think about work life balance comes from inside, not outside, and when we’re trying to do all these external things to get ourselves to feel better and to feel more balanced on the inside, they’re not going to work.
So let’s say that you have, you need to have a difficult conversation. This could be with a partner or a family member, maybe it’s with an employee. And it’s a difficult conversation that you know, you need to have and you haven’t had it yet. Maybe you’re even avoiding it. It’s got you all stirred up, maybe you’re not sleeping. Your mind is like super restless, right? And many of us have been in this situation where we have to have a difficult conversation and it’s just really weighing heavy on us.
So let me ask you, when something like that happens, doesn’t really matter where you are, right? If you’re sitting on a beach, you can still have that restless mind. If you’re at work, it can be totally distracting you from work. If you’re at the gym or out exercising and you still haven’t had that conversation and it’s weighing heavily on your mind, right? Are you balanced? No. You’re bringing that imbalance with you, wherever you go.
Now if we flip this around and in the situation where you need to have a difficult conversation with whoever it might be in your life. And the first thing that you do is you take yourself completely out of the equation, right? Remove all of your personal preferences, all of your fears around what’s going to happen when you have this conversation. And instead, you drill down to the real problem of what actually is happening. And I assure you, that when you take all your own personal crap out of the equation, and you’re just focused on the real problem, it’s going to be a lot easier to have that conversation.
And so once you’ve drilled down to the real problem, you have the conversation you just do it and you say whatever it is, that needs to be said. And then afterwards if your mind wants to explode from all the mind chatter of I should have done it differently or I should have, should have, could have, would have whatever done something different if we let that go to right let go of all that after mind chatter And instead, what we look at that conversation as an opportunity for your own personal growth.
Now think about that for a second, this difficult conversation is actually an opportunity for your own personal growth. You don’t want to do it, I get it. But setting yourself aside, putting your personal junk over there where it belongs, dealing with the real problem, having the conversation saying what needs to be said, this truly is an opportunity for your own personal growth. Go into it right knowing that it’s going to be tough, but doing all you can to make it go as well as it can. And knowing that this is actually going to help you grow as a person. What’s going to happen is that when you treat a difficult conversation like this, your mind is going to be able to relax and let it go. And then what happens is that balance is then restored to the force young Jedi. This is what happens right?
And it doesn’t Then follow you wherever you go. And if you look at these difficult opportunities as chances for your own personal growth, you could even be grateful that you had this conversation that it went so well or you did your best, right? And that is going to really again, help you restore that natural internal balance. If you have a difficult conversation and you handle it like this, and then it’s done, and you’re feeling much more balanced, then it’s going to carry wherever you happen to be in your life.
Now, why is work life balance so important? Well, in today’s busy world, it’s all too easy to right get carried away in our own stuff. And when we’re feeling like we are the center of the universe, which we’re not right it can leave us feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled, super stressed out, maybe egos a little bit, you know, unchecked and these problems can be so huge when we don’t have good perspective. And, frankly, that really is going to lead to more stress and stress is the leading cause of disease. And so we definitely don’t want more of that.
Plus, think about it when you’re super stressed out, how balanced do you feel? If you schedule things differently? Is that going to fix it? Not so much. Why? Because you’re just going to carry that stress around with you. But if you can start to eliminate the stress, then you’re going to feel better. When you feel better, then you’re going to feel more balanced on the inside. And when you’re balanced on the inside, then you can actually enjoy whatever it is you’re doing, whether it be work or play.
So that kind of leads us to ask, where does that stress come from? Stress really comes from resistance. If you look at when they build a bridge, right, it’s the load on a beam and that’s how they’re testing the stress right how much until that, how much pressure can it take before it snaps? And we are not so much we are not so different, right? Stress is really coming from resistance. And so we have to ask the question, well, what is it that we’re resisting? And we’re generally resisting two things. One is fear. And the second is desire.
Think about this for a second. So how often do you go through your day? Being afraid of what might happen? This is the fear part of that, right? We’re worried that what if this happens, and what is that? If that happens, and oh, my goodness, what if what if that happens, right? So we’re afraid of getting something that we don’t want?
On the flip side with desire? It’s the opposite. There’s something that we want, but we’re afraid we won’t get it. So think about that as you go through your day. Maybe you’ve done a vision statement, you’ve mapped out your goals, they haven’t happened yet. So how much time do you spend being sad and depressed and angry and frustrated because what I want hasn’t happened yet.
Okay, so how balanced Are you going to feel as you go through your day, worrying about what might happen? Worrying, you won’t get what you want, that’s going to completely throw you out of whack. And again, scheduling isn’t going to fix that. And if you add the additional stress of, oh, I have to schedule my problems away and it doesn’t work, it’s probably going to just make the situation worse.
So really, the answer here is about releasing that resistance, lowering the stress. And by doing that we can achieve more of the inner balance that we’re really really after. So the big question is, how do we do that? And you know, on this podcast, I don’t like to just leave you with general concepts. I like to actually give you some how, how can I apply this in my life, especially if you’re striving for more work life balance?
So we talked about the conversation already about a difficult conversation, right, and how that can throw off your balance. And if you’ve had a tough conversation, maybe you’ve put it off for days or weeks. Like that’s a lot of your time and a lot of your life. It gets lost by not just having that conversation that you need to have, like right now today. And guess what, there’s a lot more opportunities like this.
So as you go through your day, and this is an every single day, you guys 24 / 7 / 365, there are opportunities presenting themselves I mean, every single day, these opportunities are presenting themselves, for you to either use as an opportunity to work on your inner balance or not. The beautiful part? It’s your choice! So you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. But if you do decide that you want to practice this, you’re going to achieve more inner balance. And the choice again, is just yours. But remember, it is a practice, it’s not something you’re going to be good at the very, very first time you didn’t you know, learn how to ride a bike or play the piano or anything like that by doing it once and then you’re perfect at it.
Instead, what we want to do is start by recognizing these experiences as opportunities. Because they are and then using them to our advantage to improve ourselves to improve our personal growth. And by doing that we’re actually improving our own inner balance
So I want to give you another example or two. So let’s say you wake up in the morning, you get on the scale, you don’t like that number. And so you begin the process of guilting and shaming yourself all day long. Right? We’re eating meals at least 3 timxes a day, that’s a perfect opportunity to beat yourself up. Maybe you every time you pass a mirror, you decide that’s a great opportunity, right to look ugh look how terrible I look or whatever. You interact with other people you in your own head, right? Wonder what they’re thinking, you make it out to be probably a million times worse than what it is. And that whole process throws you out of balance as you go through your day.
Scheduling isn’t going to fix that because inside you’re out of balance. You’re guilting you’re shaming all day long, right? Instead, this is an opportunity for your own personal growth. If you want balance, you’re going to need to make peace with your body, except where you are today. You are not your body, you do not have to be divined by a number on a scale, okay? Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t take steps, empowered steps to me, maybe change something with your health or your body that you do want to change. So you take those empowered steps and then you let the rest of it go.
And this is a choice. It’s a choice to accept where you are today. It’s a choice to accept your body for the beautiful, beautiful vessel that it is that allows you to experience life. It’s a choice to not beat yourself up. It’s a choice to let it go. But when you make these choices, it’s going to restore your inner balance.
Okay, let’s look at another example. Your relationships. Let’s say that so and so fill in the blank is just driving you crazy, right? could be anybody employee, a vendor, a client, a husband, a wife, a family member, a child? Anybody, right? They’re just driving you crazy. And how many fingers? Right now, let’s be honest, if you look at your life, how many fingers are you pointing at different people who have all these problems that are causing you grief?
Well, if it’s if it’s more than 1, then you’re probably going to be seeing some inner balance issues. And what you need to do is stop looking at the finger that you’re pointing at others, and look at those fingers that are pointing back at yourself. Because I hate to say this, but it is true. Changing other people is not going to make you feel better on the inside. The problem here is you and we think that if we make another person bend to our will, then we’re going to feel better inside. The problem is that this ends up just being this never ending cycle where everyone else has to change except for me.
And think about it. If people in your life want you to change, how well do you take to that? Probably not so much, right? Okay. And that’s how those other people are feeling as well. They don’t necessarily want to change either. But here’s where the opportunity part comes in. Because any relationship in your life is actually again another opportunity for personal growth, and to get back your own inner balance. And this requires you to really get over yourself, to let your own stuff go. take an honest look at what’s really upsetting you and allowing yourself to feel those feelings. You guys know I created the Best Journal Ever, for many reasons. This is one of them. We’ve got to allow ourselves to feel these feelings. Nobody ever died from a feeling and when you stop resisting those feelings, only then can you surrender your fears to a higher power, okay?
And there’s lots of ways that you can do this. You can do this through meditation. You can do this through yoga, through walking through journaling, right? Whatever tool works for you. But it’s this process of looking inward first. How balanced does it feel to be walking around trying to change everybody else to make you feel better? Probably not so much, okay? So this is, again, relationships are another wonderful opportunity to look at and then make sure that you’re doing that work on yourself first.
Now, in your relationships, I’m not saying that we don’t want healthy relationships with others, and we don’t want to set healthy boundaries. We absolutely do. But we’ve got to look at ourselves first before we get out of balance by trying to force somebody else with our will to change to meet our needs, okay? And that’s our point today is balance.
So is work life balance achievable. I’m going to say yes, absolutely. Yes. But is it what you think? Probably not. If you find that you’re doing all these scheduling things, and I hope that you are because they are really and truly all good things. But if you’re finding that you’re still not achieving that balance that you’re after, I just work with a client, and she was like, Jennifer, I scheduled all my work like super, super tight, like, I mean, she gets to work and she hits it and she goes, and then guess what, she gets home and she hits it and she goes, and she’s a mess. She’s a mess. She’s a stressed out mess, because she’s just going from one thing to another thing and then trying to use scheduling to solve that internal balance part. And that is not what I want for her. It’s not what I want for me, and it’s not what I want for you guys.
So remember, balance comes from the inside. It’s not a scheduling issue. And what you can do is start to take an honest look at your day. Make a list of everything that’s throwing you off balance. Do you have a terrible morning routine right? Where you don’t get a chance to really get balanced before you go into your day. Maybe your morning routine is thrown off because it’s really your night routine, where you’re staying up too late, you’re cruising social media, so you’re not getting a good night’s sleep. So you always wake up late, right? Look at those kinds of things because they could absolutely be throwing you off balance.
Are you going through the day? Are you riddled with guilt? Are you constantly worried about stuff? Are you shaming yourself? Are you avoiding difficult conversations? Are you afraid to say no? Are you unwilling to look at yourself? Right? These are all possibilities of things that are going to be throwing off your inner balance.
So I would really, really encourage you to look at this in a different perspective. Know that balance comes from within. When you’re balanced from within, you’ll carry that to all the places of your life. So you’re going to carry that with you on vacation, you’ll carry the balance into work, and it really won’t matter quite as much as to what you’re physically doing because the balance will be with you from the inside.
All right now if you are like Jennifer, this is awesome, but I need some more help with this No worries, come check me out at jenniferdawncoaching.com. And if you have the inner balance but you’re like wow, I kind of do need a better time management system. Then consider checking out my Best Planner Ever which you can find at bestplannerever.com. That’s also where you can find my journal, the Best Journal Ever, which is the perfect companion to the planner and such a useful tool guys, I have one in my office and I have one near my bedside. It is seriously the best tool for working on your own stuff.
All right, thank you so much for listening. Go out there, get yourself some inner balance and have a Happy Productive day!