When it comes to balancing work and other parts of life the world is awash with experts. The ones that insist you need to strive for integration or blend since there’s no such thing as ’work-life balance’. The ones that blog about what works for them confident that it will also work for you. The ones that reduce the whole exercise to (choose a number) of useful tips – often along the lines of “remember to schedule regular me-time”.
I consider myself at the forefront of work-life balance experts – which is why I don’t believe in being so prescriptive.
If you have an initial consultation with me the first thing I will ask you is “how would you know if your life was in balance?” And if we have that same conversation five years later and I ask you the same question, it’s very likely your answer will be very different.
I know that work-life balance is both personal and dynamic; and there’s no “one size fits all”. Consequently both this blog and my coaching simply offer guidelines – based on academic research and practical experience – within which you can find your own route to Balanced Leadership.
So if – like me – you’re become confused by the plethora of often conflicting advice, I want to offer you some very simple guidance:
You know best whether it feels right for you to separate or integrate work and other parts of life. And you know that what feels right now may change in the future as your family circumstances and their demands on you change.
You know best how to play your various life roles. Which ones need more focus at present and where to dial down the intensity. You know you’re doing your best as you juggle through each day. Show yourself compassion and don’t let others judge you harshly.
Eminent Psychologist Bruno Bettleheim pioneered the concept of the ‘good enough parent’; while in the workplace the Pareto Principle essentially urges us to do the same.
So trust yourself to be good enough. Take five minutes of quiet time to connect with your deep inner knowing and identify what you need at this time – recognising that your needs will change as your life circumstances change. Trust that you know what works for you and stick with it. As the saying goes: “done is better than perfect”.