When I first entered the workforce a few years ago, all I kept hearing about was the need to achieve work-life balance. Because it seemed so important, I kept chasing after it.
During this time, I was working at a full-time job, running a content marketing business on the side, taking classes 10 hours a week, at the gym at least twice a week and trying to have some semblance of a social life so that I could “have balance”. I was exhausted.
Fast forward a few years, and a lot of people are still chasing this balance, but I’ve completely given up on it. If there’s anything I’ve learned about starting a business from scratch in my 20s – and you know, just living – it’s that work-life balance as we’ve come to know it doesn’t actually exist.
Balance is what you make of it.
Perhaps it’s because I have a little streak of rebellion in me, but one of the things I hated about the idea of work-life balance is that people kept telling me what it should look like.
Create a thriving business that only requires a four-hour work week. Go to a 90-minute yoga class every day. Meditate for an hour a day. Drink green juice until you can’t anymore. Socialize every weekend and make sure to carve out time for fulfilling relationships. Are you kidding me? When are you supposed to sleep let alone actually make a living?
No matter how hard we try, we can’t put different parts of our lives into these neatly packaged little compartments. Not to mention this is totally unrealistic. Can you eventually only work for four hours a week? Sure. But you’ll need to put in your 10,000 hours first.
Most of all, this is someone else’s idea of a work-life balance. A balanced life is sure as heck not going to look the same for me as it does for you because there are too many variables and personal preferences at play.
So rather than trying to achieve someone else’s version of balance, you’re better off trying to figure out what balance looks like in your own life.
For me, that sometimes looks like busting my behind on weekends so I can take off and explore a new city mid-week. Or, sometimes it looks like sleeping. And sometimes it really just looks like binge watching my guilty pleasure TV shows.