Redefining Work/Life Balance


This post was originally written for Deborah Williamson’s Wild Abundant Life.  View the original post on WAL, here:

Working in the career services field for 6 years before becoming a yoga teacher, I read countless articles and attended multiple workshops about work/life balance.  Is it really possible?  Is it achievable for men, but not women?  What would work/life balance look like in day-to-day life?

I have been thinking a great deal about work/life balance as I have been trying to balance a brand new business with a brand new baby.  And what I have found is that the concept of work/life balance is really one that makes me feel guilty, frustrated and like I’m failing in both work and life.  When thinking about balance, a person’s mind automatically jumps to things being equal.  Do you spend an equal amount of time at home as you do at your office?   Do you expend an equal amount of energy during the day when you are in meetings as you do at night when you are home?  In other words, is your time, your energy, your focus equally split between your work and your life?   In all likelihood, the answer to these questions is ‘no.’  And it’s not because you are a failure – it’s because this isn’t a realistic measure of how you are living your life.

Think about balancing in dancer pose.  When you focus too much on the mechanics of balancing – making sure your weight is equally distributed and your body is in proper placement – you usually end up struggling, getting frustrated, and beating yourself up.  But when you instead focus on being in the present moment – feeling your foot rooted down and your breath steady – balancing becomes effortless. 

I have decided to throw out the idea of work/life balance and instead focus on work/life presence.  Am I as present bathing my baby as I am teaching my yoga class?  Am I as conscious of what I am doing when I am reading a night-time story as I am when I am working in Quickbooks?  It doesn’t matter if I have spent 10 working and 3 hours at home – if I am fully present in both, I know I have achieved what matters in work and life.


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