Not Another Work Life Balance Article- We Asked and You Answered
Thursday, June 15, 2017
by: Amanda V. Green, Assoc. General Counsel, LOGS Network First

Section: WILLed Q2 2017 (Please click on article title to read full article)

First, the WILL leadership team thanks all members who filled out the anonymous Membership Survey on Work Life Balance and Health & Wellness. We wanted to provide some feedback on the responses received. I had the privilege of reading and summarizing the results. And it was truly a privilege, reminding me how blessed I am to know and work with the many phenomenal women who make up WILL.
As a young mother, I naively thought it was possible to have it all--a career, quality time with my children, volunteering at my Church or in my community, time for myself and my husband. What I learned over the past ten years, is as hard as I try to maximize my work life balance something always gives. It would be impossible to be everywhere at the same time and giving everything 100% of my time, attention, and talents. What I learned recently through networking with the leadership team and members of WILL, is to accept that fact and make the most of it. Most importantly, I found crucial support and acceptance in putting my true priorities first.

In pouring over these survey results it struck me how I could relate to almost every response. While reading the responses I kept thinking this has been me or could be me depending on the day. One respondent wrote that she was distracted from being in the moment with friends and family by, “not having enough time for myself, so I end up resenting being around these people even though I love them.” Let that sink in for a moment and honestly answer who has not thought this at one point in their life. How about recently? When asked what helps balance you out?  One response truly struck me, “[t]his is probably not the day I should be answering this survey… Nothing helps. I have a very difficult time prioritizing home and work life. My husband is amazing, but even with everything he does, I feel constant guilt and very little balance.” And there it was the “G” word, guilt!  Response after response, although not expressly spelled out, the theme of guilt permeated a lot of our responses. As I read through our survey responses, a resounding theme occurred overworked, underappreciated, stressed out, and over committed. However, also embedded in our member responses, I found nuggets of great advice in finding balance.
As a young mother, I naively thought it was possible to have it all--a career, quality time with my children, volunteering at my Church or in my community, time for myself and my husband...
As one member responded, “think home when home [and think] work at work [..] keep them in separate corners of the ring.” I think that is simple but great advice when taking that step to finding the illustrious work/life balance. Several members stated the only way they found this balance is by “unplugging” completely. Having set hours dedicated to work and outside of that “work time” they shut all work related electronics down. I appreciated one member’s comments, that to do so requires true “self-discipline”.  One member had a great suggestion for finding that balance and maintaining that separation or discipline, recognizing the need to be a mom, a wife, or a friend and leaving the work phone in the car! What great advice! Thinking of carving out my time and being disciplined has already helped me shed some of the guilt I pile on myself.

When asked if there was anything you wish you devoted more time to; not a single respondent cited to work. We overwhelmingly responded we wanted more time to exercise, to pursue additional education, to write articles and books, more time for Church and to pursue our spirituality, more time for family and for friendships. If you ask me, in the long run, as far as the big picture, these items… ourselves, our health, our spirituality, our family and friends are what truly matters most.
So, what is holding us back from realizing these desires? The majority of us responded that we lack enough time. Yet some of us cited to self-doubt and a fear of falling behind the curve or failing. I urge you all to make this the year about you. Find that one thing that you want to devote more time to and just do it. No excuses, no delay, make that one desire a priority. Do not feel guilty when pursuing it but rather re-write your “self-talk,” that you are being disciplined to achieve that goal. And find someone to hold you accountable; several of our respondents cited to accountability and having someone to hold them accountable as the best way to prioritize their life and achieve balance.

And for some of us struggling to find that extra time for our goal, try some of these “time-saving” tips offered by our WILL member peers:
Paid help; delegate tasks at work and home; get organized; morning and afternoon desk yoga; less multi-tasking; delete social media apps from phone; arrange for a non-rush hour commute; calendar everything on one central calendar; use an online to-do resource to manage all your to-dos; tackle tasks and chores in small segments so your free time is not consumed; shop on-line for groceries.
Last, but probably the best advice offered, don’t be afraid to say “NO” to a request that might be out of scope or a lesser priority. Remember we cannot do it all! Be disciplined and make this year about finding more balance.
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