Work/Life Balance — Flexibility vs. Invasion of Off Time
Picture this: You wake up feeling well-rested and eager to start the day. You have a healthy breakfast, enjoy time with your family, explore hobbies and interests, and always have a vacation scheduled on the horizon. You also have a flourishing practice. Your time is always in demand, but your priority client is you.
Let’s also run a second scenario: You’re exhausted, feeling burnt out and overwhelmed. When it comes to time with your family, you’ve got nothing left to give at the end of the day and end up crashing on the couch. Your practice is flailing and just can’t seem to bring in consistent numbers or clients. You’ve put on weight, worry about your blood pressure and can’t remember the last time you took a vacation.
After reading these two scenarios, what if you were to learn that these stories came from the same person — the stressed-out “before” scenario and what life looks like “after” having done the work to create a healthy work/life balance? There’s a strong camp of people who believe that the concept of work/life balance is impossible. These people are both 100-percent correct and 100-percent wrong. Here’s why: When we fail to take the time to define and design what our professional and personal lives look like, we will always be left feeling unfulfilled, overwhelmed and disappointed.
To confidently step into work/life balance and a deeper sense of work flexibility, it is essential to consider these four steps:
1. Define Your Work/Life Balance
It will always seem impossible and unattainable to achieve optimal living when you have not taken the time to clearly define what it is that you are looking for. Start by getting clear about what is not working in your life. Then begin to develop a working definition for work/life balance that will help to anchor you into designing a healthier life both personally and professionally.
2. Design Your Work/Life Balance
Like any good plan, achieving your work/life balance requires some research, design and development. Start to design what you want your life to look like, how you want to spend your time, who you want to spend your time with, and what passions and projects are of interest to you. Consider the vacations you want to take, goals you want to set and where you want your business to grow in the next 12 to 24 months.
3. Share and Declare Your Work/Life Balance
Research has shown that we are 76 percent more likely to achieve our goals when we declare what we want to another person and check in with them regularly as we work toward our goals. This is why coaching works. Having a mentor is helpful, and telling the people in your world about the changes that you are making leads to achieving your goals. People want to see you have success, and it is far easier to achieve our state of optimal living with support.
4. Encourage Others to Discover Their Work/Life Balance
In his book, One Minute for Yourself, Dr. Spencer Johnson shares that one of the most important tools in taking care of yourself is encouraging others to take care of themselves. We can get caught up in feeling guilty about taking care of ourselves or feel frustrated by others around us who are not living up to their potential both personally and professionally. When this happens, it is likely that they have not been taking time out to take care of themselves. Encouraging others in your life to take better care of themselves leads to higher levels of satisfaction, productivity and support.
Creating the life you want is within your grasp. Get clear about the life you want to live, figure out what’s holding you back and enlist support to keep you successful as you work toward a life that is more fulfilling, rewarding and ultimately more lucrative both personally and professionally.
Bailey Frumen, MSW, LCSW, is a therapist, speaker, coach and author of Own Your Power: Your Guide to Feeling Powerful, Fearless, and Free (ownyourpowerbook.com).
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This article appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.