Work-life balance is every working man’s or woman’s dream. Unfortunately, time is an elusive resource that is non-replenishable. The fact of life is that it is never easy to find time for anything. Most times, if you want time, you must make it happen somehow. According to Matthew Kelly, an author, “Work-life balance is not an entitlement or benefit. Your company cannot give it to you. You have to create it for yourself.” The process of creating it requires finesse, smarts, assiduousness, planning, nerve, etc.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” — Stephen Covey, Author.
Certain misconceptions regarding work-life balance can make it a scam. Why? Because trying to have a work-life balance could be a stressful journey—we don’t have to lie to ourselves. Unfortunately, many people have been attempting to achieve work-life balance by believing some lies that lead them down the path of failure, frustration, or depression.
7 Hard Truths on Work-Life Balance
The essence of this piece is to debunk some of these misconceptions about work-life balance. The exacting truth might be hard to chew or may taste bitter, but you mustn’t mount so much pressure on yourself living a lie. Ignorance, they say, is bliss. However, in this situation, it is imperative not to be ignorant of the misconceptions to have a clear vision of what you want in creating harmony in your work-life scenario. So, what are some of the truths on work-life balance? Let’s dig in:
#1. Balance Does Not Exist
Many podcasts and business counselors make you believe it’s possible to have a work-life balance when in reality, there’s nothing like balance in work and life. No matter how hard you try to strike a balance, your work and personal life will keep competing against each other, and one will win against the other now and then. Most times, when we spend time with the people we love, we are still on our mobile devices responding to emails, taking phone calls from a client, or doing one or two transactions that we can’t afford to lose.
“There’s no such thing as a work-life balance. There are work-life choices. You make them, and they have consequences.” — Jack Welch.
Instead of using the word balance, it’s safer to use a “happy work and personal life” to define the scenario of how we manage our work life with our home life, which means that you can thrive both at work and your personal life by making the most out of them. If your personal life is happy, so is your work life. Likewise, if your job is thriving, so is your personal life as well. The same goes for the opposite end of the spectrum, which means if your home life is a wreck, it will affect your work life and vice versa.
#2. Scheduling Tasks Make Life More Hectic
Being spontaneous with activities is less stressful than putting yourself under pressure to stick with a schedule. Yes, a schedule helps us be more organized and achieve all the tasks on our to-do list, but leaving some blank spaces on the list can help us catch up with our personal lives. So, take it easy on the scheduling because it could make life more hectic if not efficiently managed, and you will end up beating yourself up when you can’t achieve every task on your list.
#3. You Can’t Evenly Divide Your Time
The more you try to divide your time evenly, the more you lie to yourself because there’s no such thing as the division of time. You can’t do 50% on work and 50% on personal life; it doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes you can work, and it will spill into the hours you’ve kept aside for your personal life. Be honest with yourself; when you have a project, and all hands have to be on deck with specific strict deadlines for delivery, you won’t think of a 50:50-time division. Spend quality time on current priorities and fill up gaps in your personal life when you meet your work priorities. You can go on a trip for some days to celebrate your big win and spend time with the people you love.
#4. Choose Quality Time Over Quantity
It’s not about how many hours you use to work or spend time with your loved ones, but the quality of time spent doing so. Spending several hours of your time at work can make you less happy when you don’t spend the time on the right priorities. No one should pressure you into believing that the longer time you spend working draws you closer to success. Assuming such a lie can only put your health at risk, break you down, and affect your personal life. Stability comes when you choose quality time over quantity. Stability is a goal.
#5. You Can’t Have It All
“You Can’t Have It All” is one bitter truth that is so hard to chew. Everyone wants it all. Everyone wants a six-figure business or job that keeps bringing in the cash, a very stable home where we spend quality time with our family, a fantastic fitness plan that makes you work out regularly, a great social life with friends, and more. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can’t have it all. One aspect of your life will lack so much of the attention it needs. It’s a hard pill to swallow because you’re making a sacrifice somewhere. Something has to give. Something always is lacking in the pursuit of a perfect balance.
“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.” — Napoleon Hill.
To achieve your goals, you may have to sacrifice some of the time you spend in the gym so that you can supervise a job. Or, you may have to skip lunch dates with friends because of a pitch you’re working on for an investor. You may likely miss dinner with family a couple of times because you’re working late on a project. So, let’s be honest about it all, we give up one thing for another to reach a particular established goal or objective. It’s impossible to have it all. We may not have it all together in every aspect of our lives, but together we have it all. So, don’t lose your family.
#6. Time Management Is Outdated
Most time management templates or tips don’t work. Some are unrealistic. Sometimes you need to shut down and unwind. Other times, you need to spend your energy on the right things without any form of distraction. So, do what is most necessary at the time and don’t pressurize yourself over some techniques that put you off the grid.
#7. New Inventions Can’t Take Off the Workload
There are mobile apps designed to help you work. These new technologies only assist you in dialing that contact, online scheduling tasks, responding to emails, and more. But these tech products can’t take the entire work off you because you still need to perform the human aspect of your work. Even if you’re hiring hands added to the tech support you have, there’s still so much you need to do, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or holding a high position in a top organization.
The Internet will tell you that work-life balance truly exists, but that’s a scam. The hard truth is that balance doesn’t exist, but a happy work and home life can be possible. However, scheduling tasks, sometimes, may make life more hectic, and you can’t evenly divide your time. So, choose quality time over quantity for the amount of time you spend at work or in your personal life. The essence of it all is to ensure that you maintain good mental health and a positive mindset at the end of the day.
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” — Arianna Huffington.
You can’t always have it all, and time management is outdated, making what you believe about work-life balance false. In addition, new inventions can’t take the workload off you, but they can only assist when necessary. Thus, despite the robust innovations of our times, you still must play your part in getting things done. No matter what you do, always remember that you may never have it all together as you want. However, always remember that family is essential; so, don’t lose that bond.