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The Myth of Work-Life Balance and How to Get Some!

Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more work-life balance?

If only you had a few more hours to yourself, you would finally pursue that goal you've been putting off.

If only you had a personal assistant, or house cleaner, or nanny, or dog-walker - then you would finally be able to get ahead in your career!

If only you were less busy, you would be so much more happy!

How do you get that work-life balance you're so desperate for?

If you're looking for more balance in your life this blog is for you.

What is balance?

Imagine a ballet dancer doing a perfect pirouette. Endlessly twirling, leg outstretched. Balancing perfectly "en pointe."

Imagine the yogi doing a perfect scorpion pose with their body bent nearly in half, balancing perfectly on their forearm. Perfectly centred.

While they appear balanced, they are in fact expertly counter-balanced.

To counter-balance is to "neutralize or cancel by exerting an opposite influence."

After hours, days and years of practice, dancers and yogis have created well trained muscles that exhibit gravity defying engagement from the largest to smallest muscle.

The full effect is a position that appears effortless to the audience.

A tremendous amount of effort is put into maintaining the position of the limbs and torso to actively counter-balance each other to prevent crashing to the floor.

What is Work-Life Balance?

Work hard, play hard was a motto I lived by in my early twenties.

Acute care nursing was hard work.

The only way I knew how to counterbalance the 12 hours of putting the needs of my patients before my own basic needs was to treat myself the best way I knew how.

Two or more nights a week I would treat myself to some high (or low) quality cocktails and stay up to all hours enjoying the nightlife of the city.

Self-care and responsible retirement savings were not hot topics in nursing school.

At some point the work hard, play hard left me wishing I could crawl into a hole.

Humans evolved complex work and social lives in order to survive.

When we don't counter balance our work and life we become anxious, depressed, angry or turn to quick fixes like coffee, alcohol, and recreational drugs.

Life doesn't counter-balance itself.

You have to counter-balance your life.

How to Counter-Balance Your Life

One way to counter-balance your life is by simplifying your focus.

Don't work more hours, get more done in the hours your work.

To do this you need a strategy and a focus.

Nothing is more futile than pursuing things that don't get you excited.

One of the reasons we feel burnt out is because we are spending too much time on activities that aren't moving us toward a chosen goal or that we have no direction.

Most people feel they would be happier if they had more money.

Most of my clients have more money than they know what to do with, but never had to work to earn it. They have idle minds and idle hands. They are unhappy because we are built for work, but they don't have anything to work on. They spend their money on high fashion and luxury cars to fullfill their "hunter - gatherer" instincts. But there is no long-term goal in mind. Which means they need to continue to seek the quick fix of a new purchase.

What is missing is direction, purpose, and passion.

Step One: Define your Some Day Goal

First decide on what is most important to you in your work life and in your personal life.

How will you know?

Decide on your "some day" goals. A some day goal so inspiring you can't help but smile thinking about. Retirement at 55. Living by the lake. Having a dog rescue.

Finish the following sentence:

Some day I would like to.....

Step Two: Define your One Thing

We all have the same number of hours in the day. The difference between burn out and cruising through your day is how you spend those hours.

To figure out how to best use your time answer the following question in relation to your some day goals:

"What's the ONE thing I can do today such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

Step Three: DO the ONE thing

Let your actions be guided by your someday goals and your "one thing".

Today that might mean booking a babysitter and blocking three hours to complete and submit the college application you're been procrastinating.

Or, reaching out to your network for that next job opportunity you've been dreaming of.

Or, delegating tasks at work that don't require your attention.

Or, deleting your Angry Birds app that you are wasting 2-3 hours on daily.

Step Four: Persistence

Schedule time daily or weekly to review your goal and your ONE thing.

Ask yourself if you're on track to meet your someday goal?

Does that some day goal really excite and drive you?

Is it creating more or less counter-balance for your work and life?

If you're not on track, your goal isn't exciting enough, or you're falling out of balance rethink your someday goal and ONE thing and try again.

The difference between successful people and everyone else is the ability to course correct and follow through.

The path to your goal is your life.

We have evolved to need to hunt and gather and be surrounding by our tribe.

If you're living your life pursuing your goal, you will not feel stuck in the same way as if you were directionless.

You will find more happiness.

You will create your counter-balance.

Do you need help finding your direction, your one thing and creating work-life counter-balance?

Do the ONE thing that will move you forward by reaching out to see how I can help you.

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