Work-Life Balance. Everyone wants it, but is it possible? Can you have the best of both worlds? That seems to be the million dollar question.
I was engaged December 2015 and planning for an August 2016 wedding. No big deal. I knew what I wanted. Ask my now-husband. I knew my vendors, decorations, budget and I had a spreadsheet for everything. Literally everything. This preparation helped me coast January through June and enabled me to focus on my new career, months leading up to the wedding. I was riding the high of getting into the groove of my clients, loving what I was doing, all while knowing I was going to have an incredible wedding.
Boom. July came. Final decisions had to be made about the wedding, invitations had to go out, meetings with all of our vendors and payments were due, all at the same time new clients were coming on board demanding more of my attention. Plus, throw in there I still had to be a daughter, friend, and fiancée on top of it all. I’m young, healthy and knew I could power through it and be everything to everyone. Or so I thought.
While I believe there’s a work-life balance, it’s certainly not 50-50 and I don’t believe you can have it all. That’s right, I said it. I don’t believe you can have it all. During the month of July, I know my work slacked. I was turning in sub-par writings compared to my usual work. I was pushing deadlines and being stretched thin. I wasn’t focused nor was I giving my all to Plaid Swan. Plus, part of my personal life was slacking too. I was making excuses that I was “too-busy” to meet up with friends or go to dinner with my parents.
It was the first time in a long time I can remember feeling the self-induced stress. I was going to bed at 11:30 p.m. and naturally waking up at 3:00 a.m. My mind was filled with a never ending list of “to-dos”. Looking back on it, my life was a blur during July. I was focused on last minute wedding details, dress fittings, and honeymoon planning, rather than my career. It was also the first time I realized I can’t be everything to everyone.
The wedding has since come and gone and now I’m career focused. The work-life teeter-totter is now leaning the opposite direction. I still don’t have it all and I’m okay with that. I’m focused on furthering my career, so my personal life is on the back burner. While I still make time for friends and family, I’m saying no to happy-hours, dinners and vendor parties. Again, I’m okay with it.
I have a friend who has a demanding career, goes to school full-time, and practices yoga regularly, in addition to being a single mom. To top it off, she’s an exceptional friend that almost always reaches out first. How does she seem to balance everything, when I can’t? Life consumes us, but why do some people seem to manage their 1,440 minutes a day better than the rest of us?
“Too Busy” Theory
How does she seem to balance everything when I couldn’t? Well, I asked her. According to her there are two main things she focuses on.
- Stop saying “too busy”. Everyone claims they’re “too busy” and we need to stop saying that. Will some things be hindered if we don’t spend another hour on them? But why keep putting off seeing a friend just to spend one more hour at work? Will that extra hour fulfill you in the long run as much as the genuine conversation? People say life is too short, and it truly is. If you’ve been thinking about someone for a while, there’s a reason. Reach out to them and stop being “too busy”.
- Prioritizing doesn’t mean what’s due at work for clients, but what’s important to you. This will be an ever evolving and changing list throughout life. Everyone will go through phases when their priorities will change, but ask yourself how what you’re doing and working on will not only impact you today, but also three years from now.
She admitted that nothing is ever balanced and she always gives more to one aspect of her life. The teeter-totter of work and life will never be balanced. You won’t be everything to everyone at the same time and that’s okay. Life is about balance, prioritizing and a lot of dry shampoo.
-Brittani Wilson │ Public Relations Specialist