What it takes to truly bring harmony between personal and professional lives.
There’s a lot of talk about the notion of work-life balance in the news recently. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s so elusive, or perhaps that it’s actually a misplace notion of wanting to “have it all”.
For us here at LaunchByte who talk about startups and startup life, it’s a conversation that we have and never really come to a straight answer.
Let’s get one thing clear: you won’t get “work-life balance” copying someone else’s formula. Our lives are unique, intertwined with the equally unique lives of the people around us; together we bring an emotional and practical complexity that defies any notion of a standard equation for work-life balance. (Remember: Darth Vader’s version of “balance” was a mass slaughter of light-side Jedis.)
So yes, general principles, top-ten tips, best practices are probably nice suggestions, at best.
See, when it comes to harmonising your career aspirations with a deeper sense of purpose/fulfilment, you’re better off figuring it out on your own through trial and error. There are lessons – often painful – that you’ll have to experience and pay for in sweat and tears until you find the answer. This doesn’t preclude you sitting a friend down or reading a good book on the matter. It just means you shouldn’t be looking to apply a template.
So instead of advice, Here are three things I have personally learnt to do, that I think might help you make that process of finding your way through work and life more sweet than sour:
(1) Figure out who the most important people are in your life and make sure you’re building relationships with them. These are the keepers and stayers who won’t quit on you just because you decide to crank up the time on your career. Which means it’s even more vital that you know what they think and feel about you new venture/adventure.
(2) Think about your values. Or at least, think about what you are unwilling to compromise. When you’re out there making a difference, or saving the world, you’ll be faced with stuff that will compete for your time, your attention, and most of all, your integrity. Don’t knowingly do something that you’ll hate yourself for. Trust me on this: it isn’t worth it.
(3) Over time, consider if you’re actually getting happier. I’ll be first to say that happiness isn’t the most important thing all the time, but it’s a good indicator to whether you’re getting #1 and #2 right. If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied and unhappy overall, it’s time to go back to the first two things.
All said and done, I’d like to say that work-life harmony is definitely within reach; you’ll just need to be willing to experiment and trudge on.