I have given plenty of advice over the years about finding and maintaining a work-life balance. After having a much needed extra hour sleep, with my brain feeling somewhat refreshed, I’ve decided that my advice was leaving something important out of equation.
See, I’ve always associated this whole balance thing with how much time you spend at work and how much time you spend at “life.” Life could include family, friends, hobbies, relaxing or simply doing all the things you enjoy. But I’m realizing now that we need to balance more than just time.
I will use myself as a case study. I left work about 5:15p.m. on Friday, thought about work on my hour-long commute home, took a break to eat dinner with my family, answered some emails, started thinking about work again during a DVD we were supposed to be watching, and then went to bed thinking about work until I fell asleep. Then on Saturday, I woke up considering solutions to a few work-related problems, was completely distracted while trying to have a conversation with my daughter, and had to consciously expunge my mind of all work-related issues while trying to enjoy an outing with my husband. Even though I avoided checking my work emails, I wasn’t successful in halting my thoughts.
So, no, I didn’t actually work this weekend. I didn’t have any phone calls or crises. I didn’t go into the office or even work from home. But I might as well have been. Now that it’s Sunday afternoon, I’m scolding myself. I am failing this whole work-life balance thing, so it’s time to adjust the scales in my head. I need to commit to compartmentalizing my thoughts and valuing the life part of this balancing act. After all, work will greet me in person tomorrow, so no need to think about it now. Actually, I think I’ll have a cup of coffee, walk my dog in this wonderful crisp autumn weather, and then find something fun to binge watch on Netflix. Incidentally, it won’t be Undercover Boss or The Office.