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Do This One Thing To Achieve Work-Life Balance

THERE IS NO WORK-LIFE BALANCE. THERE IS ONLY BALANCE.

Back to back meetings, they can see on Zoom you like cat books, kids wedged together under your desk, you’re just going to tweak that presentation one more time after dinner, you decide to take that call even though it’s 10 minutes before your next meeting, where did the weekend go, what the heck is a weekend?

“Work-Life Balance” – we’ve been yearning for it since before it was even a phrase. There’s even an addendum to it called “Work-Life Separation” a slightly better idea but just semantically playing around with the notion that we work too much. Part of it is because we’ve been socialized to believe there is work and there is life and they are two separate things.

But I believe it’s ALL LIFE.

So let’s not parse out between work and life and make things harder on ourselves. Let’s accept the reality that we work and that’s part of our lives and it’s all one thing.

Now that we’ve accepted this I’m going to show you how to make things feel a lot less hectic, intertwined and knotty, and how to achieve what feels is this elusive thing called “work-life balance.”

This is the one thing you need to do …

EMBRACE THE SPACE

Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher brought us teachings around the laws of action.

And also, non-action. Lao Tzu says:

Ten thousand things rise and fall … They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.

When thinking about work-life balance. It’s not an either-or proposition. It’s not work OR life.

The balance is what happens in between.

What happens in between situations at work. What happens in between situations in life.

The breath, the pause. The moment to count to 10, the break is the space in between all the things that are going on in your life – that is where the balance gets cultivated.

Balance gets cultivated in the space in between the motion in your life.

But a lot of times these moments pass us by. We’re not even aware of them, or we fill up the empty space with something else. Mostly because it’s a habit, partly because we’re pressured to always be doing something, and minutely because we’re afraid of stopping as if our whole worlds are going to fall apart and spin-off if we stop for one second.

This space in between things is meant to be there. It’s meant to be the buffer between activities so that you can take momentary pieces of rest in between the movement. Work-life balance is too broad of an idea and therefore unmanageable and overwhelming to consider. It’s unwieldy, which is why people still struggle with it.

HOW TO FIND THE SPACE IN BETWEEN

Create “The Balance Contract” with yourself

If you can drill down the larger idea of Work-Life Balance to say, you know, this 15 minutes before this meeting, I’m actually not going to do anything. That call that’s coming in right now, I don’t really need to take it because I need to take a grown-up timeout (plus that person wants to sell me shit and I don’t need that right now).

The kids that are a little bit under my feet, I’m going to take 15 minutes to play with them so they get the attention they need and are not pulling on my pant leg all the time. Plus it gives me a quick burst of space and love.

I’m going to carve out time and stillness as Lao Tzu suggests. Returning to stillness, in little moments throughout the day. I’m going to embrace the space in between things and cultivate that space so that I can achieve an overall balance in life.

It’s not about work-life balance.

It’s just balance.

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