We’ve all heard some variation of the work-life balance intersection throughout our lives, the goal being to grow up and have a career that doesn’t outweigh your personal life. I recently had a thought on this concept (one I’m sure isn’t new to this topic of conversation): what if the work-life balance isn’t necessarily an even weight on the scale, but is a balance for YOU? But to be more acute with the definition measured by living intentionally, I think it requires one necessary caveat, you must actually love what you do.
It’s really an oxymoron to think you can have any kind of work-life balance if you don’t actually like the work. The overarching thought to this concept requires a balance between work and play, but it shouldn’t mean hating your job just to earn an income— the balance aspect created solely by the play. That’s not balance. Under an intentional living scope, this balance implies that you (singular, not collective) have identified what “balance” looks like in your life between two things you love: work and play.
This balance will look different for everyone. It changes throughout our lives as our priorities change and as we grow in our careers. The work-life balance for a young person creating a start-up will look starkly different to a mom with three kids who has a team at work. So it’s not about finding the proper ratio to even the scales but instead finding the balance that individually works for you.
What is Your Balance?
Every time I write a new post, I do a bit of research on the topic. I like to see what’s currently trending on the topic of conversation and how I can mold my opinion or thoughts to what I think you, as my reader, need to hear. As I was researching the work-life balance concept, I came across a lot of the same advice or discussions. Many articles talk about manageable steps to de-escalate stress or pressure you have about one interfering with another (work and play). For example, to reduce stress in your work life, you should meet deadlines, create a schedule, etc., a lot of things we’ve already discussed at La.Rue and how to take that action. What I want to elaborate on in this conversation isn’t how to reduce stress by creating balance but how to embrace both work and play, therefore creating balance.
Again I’ll iterate, I do believe that to have this balance in your life, you have both love your job and enjoy your personal life. And like all things, this love will ebb and flow, changing and adjusting as you do. So will we love our job and life all day, every day for the rest of our lives? No, of course not. But, for the moments that we do, that mutual affection for the two focuses of your life is the balance. So, how do we find this balance? Intentional living, of course. When you’re living intentionally and finding the balance between work and play, it all depends on what you’re prioritizing and what your goals are.
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The Work-Life Balance Formula
To find this balance for yourself (not what you think it should be or what balance looks like for your friend), start with your goals. Since this balance will evolve as you do, try putting this into perspective just for the New Year of 2022. Go back and evaluate your goals for this year; what did you put on your vision board? Do you feel the majority lean towards the work genre or life? If you’re a reader who’s been with me for a long time, you know that in 2020, the balance for me was almost all “life” and very little “work.” In 2021 that shifted, tipping the scales a bit more evenly, since my personal life became my business. What I was practicing on personal time was what I was writing about for my business.
But now we’ve reached 2022, and once again, that balance has shifted. My goals for this year lean almost entirely towards business goals. Because I’ve taken the last two years to focus my energy on my personal life: build habits, routines, structure, and systems that allow me to enjoy life and feel fulfilled; I’m ready to gear almost all my focus to my business in New York for the New Year. I encourage you to listen to this week’s podcast, Balancing Work and Play (Ep. 37), to hear more about how I’ve found my balance.
The Intentional living Formula
The formula for your own work-life balance lies in what you’re looking to accomplish. If you’re more goal-oriented (right now) towards moving up in your career or starting a business, you’re going to be spending the majority of your time focused on that. But let me be clear, if this is the case for you and you’re not attending to your needs, setting aside time to relax, keeping up with your habits, etc, you’re not in balance. You need to find what works for you that also allows you to care for yourself while working hard. Not everyone sees the need for personal care when they’re building their career. But, as I said, this balance is really only created when you’re living intentionally.
The key here is to remember that one should never outweigh the other in the sense that one is more important than the other. Your career should never be put first over your mental health or personal life. And if you’re someone who’s very goal-oriented with big dreams, then rarely will you put time for play before reaching that next big goal. It might be time to change that. Find what formula works for you, and if you aren’t quite sure, it’s always best to start with evaluating how intentionally you’re living and where you can make positive changes in your life.
listen to the podcast
Want to know more?
Head over to the Do the Damn Thing Podcast on Apple or Spotify and listen to the conversation on this week’s topic! The podcast is an open forum conversation where we dive even deeper into all that is intentional living.