It’s nearly midnight and I am exhausted. It’s been a day filled with work, home schooling my children, and (because the universe loves me just that little bit extra) a locked door with no key that I am trying to McGuyver open. I am sitting on my sofa in the darkness listening to the dishwasher perform its’ magic (a sound that is actually quite soothing). I didn’t even intend to write this article, but this thought just entered my head and I wanted to write it down.
Here’s the thought: Work-Life Balance is Imperfect… and that’s ok.
When we think of #worklifebalance we may think of zen gardens, an exotic beach, or just one day where a zoom meeting doesn’t start with a lame icebreaker. Seriously people, if you want less zoom fatigue nix the icebreakers and have Door Dash deliver coffee for your whole team. Just sayin…..
Anyway….work-life balance often has this perception of everything going at full capacity with no issues. That’s not reality and that’s ok.
Work-life balance is a process. There are good days and there are bad days. There are days when you feel as if you are a rock star and there are days where you feel that you’d get booed out of a karaoke bar (if they still exist. Was that still a thing in any way pre-covid?) Work-life balance is a process that is fundamentally messy, confusing, and uncomfortable. That’s ok too because all the discomfort you experience leads to growth. It’s through my mistakes that I learned my most valuable work-life lessons such as defining my boundaries to my employer, taking time every day for something silly, and never compromising the one-on-one time I have with my kids before bed every single night. For every lesson learned there were habits and patterns that were taking away from my happiness. And here’s the deal, my old habits and patterns occurred when I was trying to have work-life balance. I wasn’t trying to be bad, I just hadn’t figured out the pieces I needed in my work-life puzzle yet.
So if you’re feeling stressed, burnt out, and overwhelmed…that’s ok and common. You are in good company.
If you make a mistake or two (or seven in my case) just learn from it and move on.
Most of all, if you’re wondering why your work-life isn’t perfect despite your best efforts, just remember it will never be perfect because it is a process. Accept it.
Imperfection doesn’t mean misery. Imperfection simply means you’ll have more good days than bad and that bad days will pass. Imperfection means you will seek out help to work through the messy stuff, listen to what those closest you are telling you no matter how uncomfortable, and eating that bowl of ice cream despite your desire to try Keto till Christmas.
The dishwasher has stopped. I now have to try and pry a drill bit out of a door knob that will not open. It will not be perfect but the door will open and that’s ok.
**** Dr. Paul Artale is a work-life balance coach and motivational speaker who helps people design lives of meaning. He is the author of “The 2-Year-Old’s Guide to Work-Life Balance.” For more information visit www.paulartale.com