The B-Word: is There Such a Thing as Work-Life Balance?
by Alison Schroeder
I have a challenge for you and your team. Grab a few co-workers and some soft objects around the office (seriously, go do it!). Then have someone stand on one foot with their eyes closed while the others (safely!) throw things at them. How long were they able to stand there without losing their balance (I only lasted about 30 seconds)? If you think about it, life is kind of like this activity. You do your best to keep both feet planted on the ground but sometimes things get blindly thrown at you from out of nowhere. Whether it's a work task, family responsibility, or something you're throwing at yourself like learning a new language - how do you manage all of them and find a sense of balance in your life?
Is "Balance" the New Buzzword?
The short answer. Yes. The long answer - maybe. Balancing isn't a new concept - we learned how to balance on our own two feet the day we started walking. But work-life balance? That's a whole different ballgame. To some, finding a balance between their personal and professional life can be almost as difficult as mastering the Eka Hasta Vrksasana in yoga (yes that's English, it means one handed tree pose and it's as scary as it sounds). But it doesn't have to be.
Before we dig into work-life balance, you should know one thing: there's no one-size-fits-all method to this madness. Everyone has their own way of defining and achieving their own balance. I couldn't agree more with @ in their description that, "work-life balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that." What's the secret to finding the ultimate work-life balance? You need to acknowledge that you will probably always be on a journey to find your balance. It will most likely change throughout your life, year, or even day.
Feeding Your Personal and Professional Sides
Work-life balance doesn't just mean that you work your 8-5 job and leave everything at the door when you head home to your family or friends. Although you can do that, there are other (and more beneficial) ways to fulfill your need for work-life balance and improve your overall well-being. The best way to tackle your work-life balance blues is to find activities or opportunities that allow you to feed both sides of yourself so you can become your best you. Yes, they do exist and they will help you live a more balanced life.
Consider listening to podcasts, reading books, or attending seminars that shed light on something personal or professional that you want to learn about. Is there a certain motivational speaker or industry thought-leader whose insights would help you become a better employee, co-worker, and overall person? Find out how you can get ahold of their insights and drink every last drop from their fountain of knowledge.
When searching for opportunities, always remember to keep your needs and wants in mind. Will the seminar or activity help you achieve the work-life balance you're searching for? If the speaker or author doesn't touch on both personal and professional goals, then it isn't worth your time. Put yourself first, take some time to research, and find those people and events that will make an impact on your life and how you perform in it.
Finding Your Perfect Work-Life Balance Activity
For me, Willow Sweeney and Dan Tyre are two people that can help me find a piece of work-life balance. Willow's background focuses on becoming aware of how we think so we know when it is working and when it isn't working. Dan, on the other hand, is the sixth employee at HubSpot and knows a shit ton about the marketing software I use every day at work. To say I'm excited they're attending our One Squared event is an understatement - I'm THRILLED. I know the takeaways I will have from their breakout sessions at the event will benefit me professionally and personally (and they might just help you too). Check out other breakout session speakers from Google and Wistia, and learn more about our keynote speakers for our event, One Squared, here.
Remember, work-life balance doesn't have to be tough, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to try something different in your pursuit.