Why am I constantly feeling that I don’t have time?
You need to have a balance, you need a work-life balance, you’re either doing one or the other too much.
How often have you encountered the following sentence? I sure did so many times, that it became my driver in writing this article.
Imagine what it was like before. You’ve just woken up to start your day. You go and feed the livestock, and water the fields. You have lunch and then you find out one of your neighbors needs help in finishing up their barn. You go and help them and later in the evening you come home and spend some time with your family.
Did you ever think of work while making this journey in the past? Or did you think of life?
It all starts from how you perceive a concept in your mind. And, words are one of the powerful tools that enforce that perception and determine how you integrate it into your life.
A simple, yet small change in wording envisions and creates in time a stronger connection between people and within themselves.
Let’s take an example:
Who would you count more on, another employee or a teammate?
Just semantics, some might say. But, the former nurtures a transactional relationship, while the other a stronger dependable collaboration.
Similarly, work-life balance creates a perspective of separation between work and life as they are different things that need to be done in their own boxes without intersecting each other.
Work-life integration or, even better, work-life harmony is shifting the old paradigm, enabling us to see our days and decisions as a more complete and complementary way of living.
Are you familiar with:
Thing is, the ‘balance’ as it is commonly presented, counter-intuitively acts as an enhancer for the above-mentioned aspects instead of actually guiding you towards peace of mind and joy. Idealistic concepts can often induce more stress and fail due to people only looking at the perfect elusive image, instead of understanding the journey and how to manage different deviations from it.
Remember. When you were a child, everything you discovered was captivating your attention and imagination. You would explore and learn new things every day, yet all you did was play. When did that joy disappear? The curiosity of finding out more, the drive to discover? How come when we grow older this suddenly transforms into ‘work’? And why is ‘work’ so easily anchored so pessimistically?
Let’s shift our mindset and focus more on the positives and finding joy through what we do.
The happiness advantage as portrayed by Shaw Anchor draws a connection between personal happiness and professional success. The idea behind it? The happier people are, the more successful they'll be.
You are the guardian of your perspective and imagination.
You choose if you want to see your days to days as an enjoyable pursuit of discovery or a never-ending race where you are always behind.
The same choice finds itself between work-life integration/harmony vs work-life balance. Where the driving factors for the former are happiness and satisfaction.
What is the only constant in the current times? You guessed it. Change.
With innovation, the number of possibilities and paths you can take is on a constant rise. This makes it more difficult to weigh decisions and choose one out of all the options. But, at the same time, the higher range of opportunities increases the chances of finding the right place for you.
Of course, the farm-life story is far from the daily lifestyles most people have. We have created immense and complex structures to drive innovation forward. The impact you bring into the world is harder to grasp than it was to see the impact in a small community. Yet, it’s real. What it’s needed as the next step is finding better ways to understand your ‘why’ and its own role in the complexity of today.
Secret tip: If you don’t find an immediate match to your ‘why’ - you might be ahead of time. Continue detailing your vision and be bold to create space for who you are, and for who you are becoming.
There is one core aspect to this. You need to enjoy and be happy with what you are doing.
‘Well, I do, but still, it’s hard to manage all of them. What about my balance?’, some might say.
There are multiple approaches for this and most likely you can find one that maps on your beliefs.
Let’s walk together on one last journey.
You go for a walk in the park, it’s beautiful outside, you admire nature, breathe in and walk back home satisfied, happy, and at peace with yourself.
With every step you took, you were actually getting off balance and leaping forward. Dan Thurmon presents the perspective of being off-balance on purpose beautifully in his Ted Talk.
The key word here is ‘on purpose’. You are in control of the decision, not the world around you.
To get better at finding ways to integrate all of your activities in a harmonious way, think of it as juggling. There are moments when the balls stay longer in the air and are further apart from each other, and moments when they are rapidly changing and are closer together. You can always find ingenious ways to do that.
Being true to yourself first is necessary in order to be true to the people around you.
There are some careers and directions which simply do not offer the same amount of time for other activities. While there are always going to be people around you who evaluate your decisions through their lenses without understanding that it’s not all the same, the beauty is that it is you, not them who is making the choice. No two paths are completely alike and there is no one size fits all approach. I choose life over work-life balance every minute of every day to drive innovation forward. For me, the effect of the work I do and the actions I take through this prism, multiply the value brought to the world.
How would it be if, instead of talking about work and life as if they were opposite, to think of them as one?
By seeing our day-to-day activities as journeys of discovery and exploration we inevitably shift the paradigm that makes work a synonym for 'burden'.
The solution is not constantly trying to find the balance between something you enjoy doing and something that feels heavy on you. That's only making it heavier.
The solution that brings all this together is simple:
Love your work. Find joy in the process of doing it. Enjoy it so much that it feels like playing.
Striving for an idealistic balance might just keep you in the same place when there is so much more to explore, moving forward with joy through off-balances.
Are you in the tech space and feel that you could be happier while doing what you do?
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