I tried time management, increased efficiency, being more productive, working more hours plus weekends-and-nights during a first-act career that took me from a minimum wage employee, through various management roles, to a Vice President of a multibillion dollar company. At the same time I was a wife, mom, and sometimes elder care giver, seeking to have “balance” in my “real life” while trying to squeeze in time to work on a few life dreams along the way.
Some years I did okay; some I didn’t. For the first decade and a half of that career, I got accustomed to bouts-of-overwhelmedness I held inside, scarfing extra strength Excedrin throughout the day, highlighted with increasing side-trips of anger, frustration, lashing out at those I loved most, plus the occasional health scare.
Maybe I was just slow at recognizing my own stress limits and signs back then. But one day, midway through that career, I found myself unable to get out of bed—overwhelmed and exhausted. I was emotionally spent, with no more to give to anyone. I spent the day in bed, reading and crying my way through a book that sparked my thinking.
That book, and others I devoured after it, served as catalysts for me to see a different path and to gradually transform from being a passenger in my life to being its driver. Years of reading, research, thinking, exploring, self-discovery, reflection, teaching, and learning later, I still don’t presume to know what is best for anyone other than me, and even then I’m not always sure. But, I do know those who get great results, the results they want for their lives, are masters at managing themselves.
Myth: You need employer support for work-life balance
This is the myth of balance: that work is separate from life.
Real balance isn’t something someone gives you. It’s not a program, but a mindset. And it doesn’t come from the outside. Consider that 429 million paid vacation days in a given year are left unused by U.S. employees. Despite cries of “overwhelmed” just 51 percent of employees (continue reading →)