Work-Life Balance Might Seem Like A Myth, Try This Instead.


For years, we've been reading and talking about achieving work-life balance, the idea that you really excel personally and professionally without neglecting either sphere, but is it really possible?

I asked random friends and followers on social media about how balance was working in their lives, and here are some highlights:

  • A married mother of four struggled to achieve balance, so she became a stay-at-home mom and began a thriving small business;
  • A single, childless nurse whose work life has eclipsed her personal life;
  • A solopreneur and mom of two who changed jobs to spend more time with her children;
  • A married mom of two who encourages others to ask for help and receive it when offered;
  • A media professional and adjunct professor who received a warning for high stress from her physician.

Sounds like we're all finding our way by trial and error, but there's good news. Dr. Dawna Ballard, Associate Professor at the University of Texas-Austin, studies chronemics, the intersection of time and communication, and says trying to achieve work-life balance may be unrealistic because the outdated model doesn't accommodate the blurred line between personal and professional in today's society. "Just the language of work-life balance begins with this assumption that work and life are two separate things," she told us. "The challenge has been work-life balance becomes all about this weighing and comparing two things that are sort of at odds with each other."

Instead, Ballard suggests living and working in alignment, which focuses on the interdependence of work and life rather than putting them in competition with each other. "It's no longer talking about weighing two things, so when we talk about, 'Can we have it all?' that's still a mathematical question. There's no 'all' to be had if you're just talking about how interdependent things are. Are things working in concert with each other?"

Ballard gives us tips on how to transition to this updated way of living:

Find your core. 

Getty Images

Alignment begins with figuring out what matters to you and working from those desires. Are you changing your focus to spend more valuable time with your family? Is your personal health a priority for now? When agreeing to do things, make sure they are aligned with what you really care about.

Respect your limits.

If your to-do list is jam-packed, it's likely you think you have to honor all of those requests. You don't and maybe you shouldn't. "Alignment reminds us that there is a demand-capacity issue that we have to consider," Ballard says.

Being attentive to how much you can take on will positively affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. "Someone else can do a million more things that I can't do, it's just not what I can do. I've got to respect it, and what that may mean is I've got to say 'no' to people."

Check-in with yourself. 

Getty Images

You can use meditative practice of any kind as an intentional time to think about what is really necessary and what can be knocked off of your list according to your operating core. It does not have to be linked to spirituality or religion of any kind. If meditation doesn't work, use a sport or favorite hobby to tune in.

After you align, realign. 

You won't get it "right" every time, and over time, some parts of your life will receive more attention than others. "We don't get to solve life, which is kind of what work-life balance presumes: There's some mathematical formula, but that's not the way life works," Ballard says. "That's not the way living beings work. We will change over time. We have to constantly be checking in with ourselves and modifying."

Modifications may include making life changes to even begin meaningful alignment. If your job or work isn't flexible enough to allow things to happen in tandem (we see you, micro-managers), Ballard says be intentional about increasing your skills and working on your strengths so you can transition to opportunities that best serve your core and result in more personal responsibility for your future.

You're doing your best day by day. Decide what's the most important and begin creating the life you need when you can.

Featured image by Getty Images

Related Stories

Here's How Publicist Kiki Ayers Juggles A Pregnancy And Her Six-Figure PR Agency – Read More

How To Find Balance When Your Life Is A Tightrope – Read More

This Is Why Millennials Crave Work-Life Balance – Read More

Gabrielle Union is not here for the label stepparent. While she became a stepparent after marrying Dwyane Wade in 2014, that doesn't mean that she wants to be defined by it. The actress spoke about the dislike of that term during her appearance on Glennon Doyle's "We Can Do Hard Things" podcast.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

It was actually pretty close to this time last year when I penned the piece "How To Get Through The Holidays If You Don't Observe Them". Unlike some of the other articles that I write for the site, I pulled that one from very personal experience. Being that my personality is very wired to "be good" on something once I know its origin, holidays are something that I tend to take a pass on; this includes Thanksgiving (some insightful reads on its origin are found here, here and here). Still, this doesn't mean I'm not aware of the fact that many people use this time of year to reflect on their blessings and to say "thanks" for all the good that has come their way. Since I like to write on relationships a lot, I thought to myself, "Why not come up with ways for people to show gratitude to their significant other?"

Keep reading... Show less

I didn't want to say that I was having bad luck. That's not something I'd ever want to speak into existence over my life. But I will say something wasn't right. I had a few coins stacked in my purse from a one-time project as well as from an ongoing one. Then I received emails from not one but two publications within days apart asking me if I'd like to contribute a few articles every week. Opportunities and money were flowing in. If you follow the law of attraction, you'd say I was vibrating on a high frequency.

Keep reading... Show less

Tinashe has learned a lot about her mental health while growing up in the entertainment industry. The singer/songwriter began dancing at four years old and had her first movie role at five years old.

From there, she went on to be in a girl group The Stunners and act in TV shows like Two and a Half Men. Now as an independent artist focusing solely on her music, the "All Hands on Deck" singer opened up about the struggles she faced in the industry.

Keep reading... Show less

My favorite time of the year is the start of the official boot season which begins during the transitional period between summer and fall. What's most exciting about the sudden drop in temperatures is stepping back into those sleek pair of boots for the first time in months. Whether zipping up oldies but goodies or investing in a new fall 2021 boot trend, this year is all about the calf boot. Specifically, this is the best option when easing your summer clothes into the appropriate fall looks.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'David Makes Man' Star Arlen Escarpeta Believes Love And Accountability Go Hand In Hand

"While we are quick to judge others, we really have to look at ourselves and call out some of the things that we do."

Latest Posts