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

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the intersection of time and communication, and says trying to achieve work-life balance may be unrealistic because the outdated model doesn't accommodate the blurred line between personal and professional in today's society.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

How To Turn A Hobby Into A Lucrative Business

There's always talk about creating a side hustle and having multiple streams of income, but what happens when you're already super-occupied, booked, blessed, and busy with the 9-to-5 you have on top of other responsibilities like managing a household, pursuing higher education, or loving on bae? Well, one of the best ways to leverage a great side hustle opportunity is to look into monetizing things you already do as hobbies.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
Upgrade Your Morning Routine With This Simple Journaling Practice

As a writer, it can be fairly easy to succumb to the dreaded phase of creative block in my process. When the ideas flow, they feel light and airy, and the words leave my mind with little to no effort. And when they don't, I can easily find myself staring at my laptop, both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the blank page in front of me. Filling the blank space with words no longer feels like second nature, and where there once was ease, there is suddenly resistance. Whether it’s due to burnout or the ideas are just not as free-flowing as I'm accustomed to, brain fog is real. However, through trial and error, I have learned that it is very possible to access creativity by exercising those areas of the mind.

Keep reading...Show less
The Power Couples In The Zodiac & Your Money Match Based On Astrology

When it comes to power couples in the zodiac, there are instant matches that make for love and financial compatibility. Some zodiac signs work better together than others, and considering financial challenges tends to make or break relationships--finding your money match is important. Not only that but there are certain signs in the zodiac that can enhance your financial world, just by being in it. Planetary energy in certain areas of your birth chart can provide higher success rates and opportunities, and compatibility energy varies by degree.

Keep reading...Show less
Halle Bailey Talks 'The Little Mermaid' Backlash & Having A Forever Best Friend In Sister Chloe

Halle Bailey won our hearts alongside her sister Chloe when their cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” went viral when they were just teenagers, and from there they have become Grammy-nominated artists as the group Chloe x Halle thanks to albums like Ungodly Hour and The Kids Are Alright. Now, their fans have more to look forward to as Halle will be starring as the Disney princess Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Keep reading...Show less
The Do's & Don'ts Of Having Sex On The Beach

I’ve never actually tasted a 'Sex on the Beach,' but I certainly have imagined doing it. In fact, I’ve had a lot of sex fantasies, but this remains to be one at the top of my list. However, I continue to harbor some fear because it seems that beach sex is no easy feat.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts