Finding Balance between Work and Life

Posted In: Work/Life Balance
Posted On: 3/21/2017

Jane: My friend Tyler is joining me today with a question about one of my favorite topics: balance.

Tyler: So, I find myself pulled between two worlds. There's always a strong desire and responsibility to be working more because there's a never-ending list of projects I need to work on. But at the same time, I have a constant desire and pull to be spending time with family and friends. So, how do you balance these competing needs?

Jane: Balance is the question I get more than any other because it's the least straight forward and it differs for every person. Personally, I think about it in a couple of ways. One is, "what gets you excited? What gives you energy? Where do you want to spend your time?" I think the answer to those questions can help determine what balance will be for you, because you want to spend your time in ways that fill you up and nourish you. So, if you're in a job that you love and you're in a relationship or living a life that you love, then how do you spend your time equally? One of the key things to think about, just from a tactics standpoint, is the difference between how we treat work and life outside of work. When it comes to our work, I think we do such a great job of scheduling meetings, of making appointments, and then sticking to them. But when it comes to our personal lives…not so much. I know in my experience, I would always show up for a work meeting, but I might blow off a dinner with a friend, or something that didn't feel as permanent a commitment. So, after you understand what your priorities are, another tactic in achieving balance is to put real plans around them. Don't just have work be a planful experience, have your personal life be a planful experience too.

Tyler: I often think there's a third aspect at play here, too, in that it's also hard to prioritize taking care of yourself. How does taking care of yourself fit into all of this?

Jane: Taking care of yourself is probably the most important aspect. You're not going to be good in your job or your personal life if you aren't feeling good about who you are. Whether that means you're exercising, or reading a book, or doing nothing, it all really needs to start with you. So, when you look at this trifecta of work, personal life, and nourishing yourself, make sure to treat yourself as an equal priority. Because the more nourished you are as a person, the better you're going to do in your work and your personal life.