Lest the title of today’s post fool you, I am not talking about a pair of jeans or a new skirt. So, feel free to keep reading as I gnaw on my never ending container of Starburst.
This morning, while skipping my daily 5:00am run, I sat on the couch and enjoyed a cup of coffee. I had already done my daily creep of Facebook and Twitter. Already let the dog out, only to let him back in again 5 seconds later. And, I had begun to check my email.
And in my email were all these messages (which, reminds me, I need to unsubscribe to those messages) about the elusive work-life balance.
Ah, good old work-life balance.
I actually hate that term.
For me, I’ve always talked about and lived work-life integration. Maybe it’s my work style. Maybe it’s my personal style. But, it’s likely the result of doing race, diversity, equity and inclusion work as a person of color. So, yes, the work is the life.
But this July, I started a new job in a somewhat new field. This meant the perfect time to redraw the map of work and life.
Back to my coffee….
After I had deleted all the work-life balance emails, I turned on a TEDx Talk by Nigel Marsh. You guessed it, it was about work-life.
But this was different. This speaker was asking us not to figure out how to “fit” our lives into our work, but how to create, from scratch, the kind of day you want to have. Not the kind of day you DO have. The kind of day you WANT to have.
This TEDx talk was also on the heels of a conversation my husband was telling me about. A friend of his got so tired of others saying, “Oh, I’m so busy” that his response to them was, “Well, then get out of my office and go do what you need to do.” Sharp? Yes. But, it also made people think about why they felt the need to lead with “Oh, I’m so busy.”
So let me spare you the day that I DO have. And, here is a peek into the day that I WANT to have:
5:00am – Wake up and work out
5:30am – Get ready for work
5:45am – Write my dissertation (15 minutes a day!)
6:00am – Kindly wake up the children
6:15am – Be present with them as they eat breakfast
6:30am – Begin commute to work
8:00am – 5:00pm Fully engage in my work life and responsibilities
5:00pm – Commute home with the family
6:30pm – Fully engage in children’s activities/sports/lessons
7:00pm – Dinner
7:30pm – Talk about homework and school assignments
8:30pm – Send the children off to bed with a book or a 1:1 talk
9:00pm – Hang out with my husband and watch a show
9:30pm – Go to bed, sleep 8 hours
Is that so different from what I do now? Hell yes. My old “what I do DO” was filled with multitasking of checking email, yelling at people to hurry up, eat while doing something else, text message or make phone calls while the kids are in sports/lessons, get angry that no one finished their homework, shout “go to bed!” from the table as I finish up emails, and fall into exhaustion only to do it all over again.
But, this schedule is what I WANT to do. Will there be exceptions? Of course. However I’m starting with this. I’m starting with my priorities. I’m starting with expectations of who I am and what I believe is important. Note that it doesn’t mean I’m not as productive, functional, or responsible at work. This just means I commit to focusing on what needs to be focused on.
What is the schedule that you WANT? Do you run around and tell others you are “busy”? To what end? For what purpose?
And, though we tell others we are “busy”, what do we signal to those who benefit from us the most?
Peace, love and making it fit,