Feb. 18, 2020

The #1 Best Way to Find Better Work-Life Balance

The #1 Best Way to Find Better Work-Life Balance

Ever wonder why the "quick fix tips" for achieving work life balance don’t work? 

It’s estimated that entrepreneurial burnout costs the U.S. upwards of $300 BILLION annually due to business closures. As an entrepreneur, you’re under a lot of pressure when it comes to growing a successful business and balancing work and family. 

Even though achieving work life balance might feel next to impossible, there IS a way to find a better rhythm when balancing work and family, and inside of today’s episode, I’m going to show you how.

WHEN YOU FINISH THIS EPISODE, YOU'LL LEARN: 

  • The 3 surprising myths that keep you from achieving work life balance

  • The psychological cost of burnout and the surprising reasons why most tips for achieving work life balance are ineffective

  • The key three-step framework you can follow right now to experience greater work-life satisfaction 

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Transcript

You’re Listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode #5! 

Did you know? Once you pass a certain threshold of working hours, your sleep becomes impared, you’re more likely to feel depressed and stressed, and you have a harder time communicating, collaborating, and getting things done.

When it comes to scaling your business as an entrepreneur, the “always on” lifestyle can make achieving work life balance even harder. If you’re like most, you’ve likely googled 'how to achieve work life balance’ to search for ways to balance work and family, but come up with lists of more tasks to do. This is just one of the many broken methods in our rise and grind culture, because when you’re burnt out and struggling to juggle work-kids-family-life-etc, you don’t need to add more tasks to your plate! You’ve got enough going on as it is. 

Today’s topic is one that I’m asked to speak on most often, because everyone is looking to achieve work life balance, but few are succeeding. Which is why I’m going to teach you

  • the shocking truth about achieving work life balance

  • the 3 surprising myths that are keeping you from achieving work life balance, and

  • the simple framework you can follow right now to experience greater work-life satisfaction

As a wellness entrepreneur, stress expert, and business coach I’m dedicated to showing ambitious entrepreneurs like you how to create success in all areas of your life, without the overwhelm and overwork. Which is why I’m pumped to debunk these shocking myths about achieving work life balance and help you sift through the false information so you can start balancing work and family and experiencing greater work life satisfaction. 

What’s interesting is that while many entrepreneurs are actively looking for ways to achieve work life balance, on the flip side they resist finding it because they mistakenly believe it means giving up the things they love and are passionate about, like working on their dream, serving their clients, etc. Achieving work life balance doesn’t mean you have to go live on the side of the mountain and isolate yourself from the world. You don’t have to give up the things you enjoy, either. You just want a way to find more breathing room in your day, time and space for you, and better balance between work and family so you can spend more time with the people you love.

Achieving work life balance has nothing to do with time-blocking your calendar, or decreasing screen time, or scheduling time off for yourself every week. These things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but the reason they don’t work is because they’re each smaller pieces of a much bigger puzzle. 

Has there ever been a time you’ve tried to practice more self care, but then the kids get sick and your plan goes out the window?

Have you ever tried getting up a few minutes early to workout, but when your alarm goes off, you decide you need those few extra minutes of sleep to make it through the day?

Can you think of a time you planned time off of work, but felt like you didn’t have a vacation because work was always on your mind?

You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who’s perfectly balancing work and family, their career and their relationships, and all the other things you juggle every day. The fast-paced, high-tech world we live in adds even more demands on your attention, and it quickly becomes a choice between keeping up with your achievements, or achieving work life balance. Most choose the former. 

Have you ever stopped to consider: what does balancing work and family actually look like? Balancing work and family might look one way for one person, and another way for another person.

When I was diagnosed with cancer at age 25, I realized the cost of my success: my health, my family, my relationships, and everything that mattered.

Spoiler alert: if you’ve been looking to achieve work life balance, you'll be hard pressed to do so. It’s not because you haven’t been trying -- goodness knows you have!

Chances are, you’ve already felt the effects of what happens when you're struggling to balance work and family, which is why you’ve been trying to find the solution. 

When you haven't figured out how to achieve work life balance, everyone suffers the consequences. In a recent study of 185 million hours of working time, researchers found that the more you work, the less capable you are at performing simple every tasks that are critical to your health, personal well being, and career success. 

In our hyper-connected world, people are spending longer time on their devices, which translates to less time for productivity. To make up for it, 33% of salaried workers said they do work on the weekend. Only 74% of work is done during normal working hours, which means that people are taking more than a quarter of their work home. 

And as an entrepreneur? There’s barely a time when you truly turn “off.”

Another survey shows just how many issues this “always on” mindset creates: 

  • 38% of employees have missed important life events because of bad work life balance
  • 60% of employees blame bad bosses for the most negative impact on balancing work and family
  • Only 3 out of 5 new businesses succeed past the first few years in business, which means that 7 out of 10 entrepreneurs shutter the doors on their dream every year

Why? Why is it that when you’re working on your passion and doing work you love, the chances of burnout increase instead of decrease?

You’d think it’d be the opposite: that doing work you love would make it easier to balance work and family.

Despite how costly burnout is and despite the havoc it wreaks on our minds, our bodies, and our businesses, very few people succeed at achieving work life balance. Instead, they keep working, hoping that one day they’ll be successful enough to have more time and freedom to do the other things they enjoy -- like workout, spend time with family, and pursue passion projects. 

The reason they haven’t achieved work life balance is most likely because they’re buying into three major myths about balance, that we’re going to bust right now before going any further.

 

MYTH #1: BALANCE CAN BE “FOUND”

It’s easy to blame lack of balance when you’re not seeing the results you want in your life and business. It acts as a scapegoat so you can avoid taking personal responsibility for why you don’t have the results you want. 

When you aren’t getting the results that you’re working so hard for, it often leads to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. These feelings create a ripple effect that compels you to always be searching for something to fill that void. 

Most people have experienced the pain of feeling out of balance, but their search to find it never satisfies, because it’s a search for something that can’t be found in the external world around you.

Balance isn’t something you “find” … because it’s not something that gets lost like your glasses, or your keys. And this takes us to Myth #2 about why achieving work life balance can feel so elusive.

 

MYTH #2: BALANCE EXISTS “OUT THERE” SOMEWHERE

Balance is a concept; it’s not a person, place, or thing. It’s intangible and doesn’t exist in physical reality, like the airpods in your ears or the shoes on your feet. 

Concepts are meant to be understood, not found. When’s the last time you tried to find a concept? How did that go? You can understand a concept, within you. But you won’t find a concept outside of you. 

That’s why the secret to achieving work life balance is to remember that it doesn’t exist outside of you, because it already exists inside of you. You just haven’t stopped to define it, yet.

 

MYTH #3: OUR CULTURE DEFINES WHAT BALANCE LOOKS LIKE

Our culture wants you to believe that a way to perfectly balance work and family exists so it can keep selling you thing after thing, profiting on your glimmer of hope that if you just keep chasing the work life balance ideal one day you’ll have it. 

Balance can’t be bought. It can’t be sold. It's not defined by having perfectly-behaved children, a marriage that’s forever in the honeymoon stage, or a glowing list of career accomplishments. 

But our culture doesn’t tell you this, because it wants to keep you so busy looking for better ways to balance work and family, that you never realize you’re distracted from the things that actually create balance between work and family in the first place.

The relentless search for balancing work and family steals your attention and takes your mind off of what’s important in the here and now. 

I always hear people saying, “I wish I could be more present!” But because they’re so busy trying to achieve work life balance, they don’t realize that with a few simple tweaks, they could slow down and find more breathing room to be present in their life right now, and balancing work and family wouldn't feel so darn impossible. 

Achieving work life balance is like a dance between the things you have to do, and the things you want to do. It’s a feeling, not a thing. 

The only reason you're struggling to balance work and family is because you’ve been too busy to stop and define what balancing work and family looks and feels like for you. It's what YOU define it to be. 

Balancing work and family is a unique process for each person, because it's a feeling that’s unique to you. What achieving work life balance will look totally different for you than it does for someone else — this is perfectly normal. 

Most people totally miss this. Instead, they chase after someone else’s version of balance, or our cultural ideal of balance, and continue onward in a never ending search to achieve work life balance that already exists within them, if they’d simply slow down long enough to define it.

I shared some startling statistics earlier, and what’s ironic is that most of the “solutions” the researchers recommended for achieving work life balance and avoiding burnout were to stop doing certain things, like… 

  • Spend time unplugged from your devices (but what if I want to binge my favorite Netflix show to ‘unplug’?)

  • Eliminate distractions while working (really? Who doesn’t keep 14 browser tabs open these days!!)

  • Stop multitasking (oh yea, because I’m automatically going to be able to ignore the other 39,999 of 40,000 tasks on my mental to-do list)

In a word, their advice was to STOP. Stop doing things. Not once did they suggest what to do. 

Achieving work life balance is not a matter of what you’re doing or not doing. It’s a matter of whether or not you’re committed to prioritizing the things that are most important to you.

Are you searching for someone else’s definition of balancing work and family, or are you seeking out your own version of balancing work and family?

“Out of balance” is a feeling that indicates something is off center. At some point along the way, you decided (knowingly or unknowingly) that your life was out of balance, or balancing work and family was challenging, because things felt beyond your control. 

Think of it this way: your thoughts are like the dial of a radio station. Whatever thoughts you’re thinking -- whatever dial you’re tuned into -- is what’s going to determine the music that plays into your life. That music might be harmonious or it might be total discord. 

What most people don’t realize is that you always have a choice to change the dial if you don’t like what you hear. 

In this case, achieving work life balance is as easy as defining what balance looks and feels like for you specifically… then tuning your dial to the right station and choosing to prioritize those things that bring you greater work-life satisfaction.

The simple framework I’m going to give you next is the shortcut to help you balance work and family by defining what balance looks and feels like for you specifically. 

What I’m going to teach you is not some time management strategy that promises you better work life balance but doesn’t deliver. It’s not some productivity system for getting more done in less time so you don’t have to bring work home with you anymore. 

We’re going deeper and more foundational to define and transform your current relationship with balance. When you do this, you’ll finally feel the satisfaction of balancing work and family with ease. 

  1. Grab a pen and set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down any and every reason you find it hard to balance work and family in your life right now. Obviously if you’re driving don't do this now, but carve out a few minutes today to make it happen.

  2. Now notice what you wrote down. If I had to guess, most of these were external reasons: aka things you can’t control. But there are two things you CAN control: how you choose to think, and how you choose to act. So for every reason you wrote above, ask yourself this question: “Yes but is this true? Or is it a story I’m telling myself to justify why I'm struggling when it comes to balancing work and family?” Answer honestly here — no one’s judging, and you’re the only one who’ll see this. The more honest you are with yourself, the easier it is to define what balancing work and family looks like for you in the next step.

  3. Reset your timer and imagine you’re living in balance. What does it look like, specifically? What does it feel like specifically? Don’t filter! Be as descriptive as you can and write whatever comes to mind. The more specific and tangible you are, the better. 

  4. Now using what you wrote in step 3, write your personal definition of what it means to balance work and family. Fill in the blank: Balance to me, means ________. Now all that’s left is to determine the first step you need to take to bring this definition to life every day.

For me, when I noticed my life felt out of balance, I started envisioning what achieving work life balance day by day would look and feel like. 

By shifting your focus from the work life balance you don’t have, and focus instead on achieving work life balance you want, you’ll be able to take small steps each day to create it.

That’s the secret to balancing work and family: to first define what that means to you, then to take steps to create it one day at a time.

Thinking about balance differently will take some practice. You may notice times when you feel overwhelmed, or stressed, or something comes up in the course of your day and throws you off track. When that happens, take a deep breath and remind yourself of your definition of balance. And ask yourself: What’s one step I can take right now to achieve work life balance in my life today, by my own definition? 

Forming new habits takes time. Mastering the art of balancing work and family doesn't happen overnight, but it will happen day by day when you choose to focus on each day as it comes. Be patient with yourself and remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. 

That’s a wrap for today -- by the way, if you’ve ever got a question to ask me, I hang out on Instagram @theeffortlesslife.co . Send me a DM with your question, because I love hearing from listeners like you! I'm always down to chat about how I balance work and family too, so ask me anything you want to know.

Then join me here next week where our special guest is going to teach you how to structure your day for optimal productivity. We’ll see you right back here next time on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast... until then, go live YOUR EffortLESS Life®!