How to sort out your work-life balance
Throughout November, I surveyed women to ask them about the most important workplace challenges that they faced, including work-life balance.
Work-life balance is the biggest workplace challenge
Three quarters of women (74.87% to be precise) ranked work-life balance as the most important workplace challenge.
To be honest, the results surprised me. I knew that work-life balance is a significant challenge for my clients. It’s often what women want to focus on first.
However the fact that so many women rated this as THE most important challenge has made me look again at the Work element in my Women’s Confident Leadership programme and redesign it so that each participant gets absolute clarity on the work-life balance she wants and how she’s going to achieve it.
What do we mean by work-life balance?
But what do we mean by work-life balance?
When we talk about trying to get a work-life balance, often it’s about trying to get more done in a day. And actually sometimes we’re just trying to fit too much into our day. A couple of weeks ago I sought advice from Clara Wilcox of The Balance Collective for my podcast Confident Conversations.
Clara suggested that work-life balance is about choice. It’s about what we choose to do. It’s about whether we do what we want or what we feel we should. It’s about expectations and perceptions because ‘busy’ is seen as successful. “You can do anything but you can’t do everything”. And that’s so true.
It’s not so much about your work-life balance but your work-life blend. It’s not about seeing work and life as two separate things. Because let’s face it, it is more of a blend than a balance. Technological advances bring many advantages, for example you can easily access social media on the move. Remote working is more readily available. However these advances bring their own challenges. The boundaries between ‘work’ time and ‘home’ time are much more blurred, and if you are not mindful of your boundaries, this can have a negative impact on your home or family life.
We’ve all seen couples or groups in restaurants tapping away on their phones, keeping in touch with their virtual friends, while ignoring the real life ‘flesh and blood’ friends sat opposite.
The work-life balance or blend that works for you is likely to be very different to the one that is right for your work colleague or manager. And that’s what comes out time and time again when you listen to the interviews and discussions in The Confident Mother’s 3rd annual online conference.
How can I sort out my work-life balance?
Working mums do struggle with work-life balance for many reasons. Here are the ones that I see most often in the women I work with:
- You are trying to do too much. Nobody can do everything so don’t even try. Focus on what is most important to you. Focus on that first.
- You want to be perfect. Being the perfect employee or the perfect mother is impossible. Besides whose version of perfect are you trying to be?
- You don’t want to ask for help. And here’s the irony, if another woman asked for help, you’d probably be more than happy to oblige. It’s ok to ask for help and it’s very ok to accept help offered. Nobody will think any less of you.
- You never say no. Many working mothers are trying to please too many people. Give yourself permission to say no. It is ok to set boundaries on what you will and won’t do.
- You don’t take ‘me’ time. So many women do not look after themselves; and if they do, they feel guilty or selfish about taking ‘me’ time. If that’s you, I encourage you to remember that you are modelling the behaviour and the expectations for your own children. If they see that a mother does everything for everyone and never takes time for herself, that’s the pattern that they will carry forward into their future lives.
What about the other workplace challenges?
Curious now about the other workplace challenges? What do you think they might be? Click <HERE> to get a copy of the full report published today.
If today's the day, you want to put your head in your hands and cry, know you are not alone. Why not check out these tips on how to cope with overwhelm.
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