I don’t believe in all that astrology mumbo-jumbo.
But maybe that’s because I’m a Libra.
Do you recall the symbol for Libra? It’s not the bull. Nor that half-human, half-horse thing.
It’s the scales. You know, the symbol that conveys the principle of symmetry and balance?
Well, I’m not exactly the poster child for it.
Throughout my career I have repeatedly exhibited a complete and total lack of work-life balance.
Those scales we always see so perfectly balanced?
Those aren’t mine. Mine look more like this:
So when I discovered that the exciting opportunity I applied for via a blind ad last January was with a company that guarantees their clients an unfair advantage in the game of life through work-life balance, I could appreciate the irony.
And while I haven’t yet achieved mastery in the arena of work-life balance – hey, it’s only been 6 weeks! - I’m beginning to see how my prior habits contributed to my lack of job satisfaction in the past.
Here are a few things I shall avoid in the future:
- Building my identity around my job. This habit stinks for two reasons. First, when things are potentially stressful at work, I’d carry it with me everywhere. Friends quickly discovered not to ask how things were going at work, because I would tell them. A prior boss once told me, “You need a thing outside of work. Get a thing or you’ll drive yourself crazy.” He was right! The second reason? When work suddenly went away, I floundered more than I expected. I was my job. Without it, all I could think was, “Now what?”
- Considering pleasing others to always be more important than pleasing myself. And under this category is my natural aversion to the word “no.” Seems that the mere fact that someone has requested that Project XYZ be complete in just 4 days makes me automatically presume that it’s possible to complete it in that time frame. At a prior job I often admired my older, wiser teammate who would say, “I don’t think we can do that, but let’s look at what we can do.”
- Creating unreasonable to-do lists. I recall a prior manager of mine looking over my shoulder at my to-do list for the day. “That’s for today?!” he exclaimed. “No wonder you’re not feeling effective – it would take anyone a week to accomplish that list!” He advised me to shrink my list to no more than 3 major items per day. And I did it. For about a week. Then I went back to my old ways. Because, hey, there was so much to do!
Awareness of these habits is the start of my transformation here at Balanced WorkLife. Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted on the next steps.
Meanwhile, do you have any habits that sabotage your work-life balance? Have you overcome any of them?