Pressure to achieve success further and faster comes at us from every angle.
You’ve worked hard to prepare yourself for a successful career. But it seems so much more difficult to meet all the demands on your time at work and at home than you anticipated. The pressure is never ending and when you zone out on social media, seeing friends’ careers take off adds to the never-ending pressure.
You wonder if it will ever end. Is work-life balance an achievable goal? You want a successful career, but you don’t want to sacrifice all the things that will make it meaningful, including friends, family, and time for fun. Having a more satisfying work-life ratio seems elusive to you, which creates a daily feeling of never having enough time.
Work-Life Balance Isn’t a SMART Goal
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Because a goal to achieve work-life balance isn’t a SMART goal, studies show it increases stress. It causes people to feel frustrated and unsatisfied with themselves, their jobs, and the time demands their family requires.
If your life feels harder than it was for prior generations that’s because your life is harder than theirs in many ways. Completely disconnecting from work is challenging. Your boss may expect to be able to reach you and communicate at all hours.
If you manage to get work under control, your family complains you aren’t paying attention to them. When you pay attention to your family, work spins out of control. It’s difficult for you to feel competent in either place because competing priorities keep you feeling off kilter.
You want a happy medium but despair that you’ll ever be able to achieve it.
You Can Find the Right Ratio for You
Ratio is a more appropriate term than balance for two reasons. First and most importantly, because to balance is to be static, and your life is anything but static. Secondly, because ratios recognize individual and situational differences.
If you are pursuing a world-changing passion career, you may want to spend almost all your time on your career. If that’s you, the expectations of people in your life who aren’t part of your career need to be managed. Whereas if your definition of success is financial stability because of its benefits to you and your family, you will likely want to devote more time to your home life.
You get to decide the right ratio for you. The right ratio for you today may not be the right ratio at another point in your life. Attempting to achieve perfect work-life balance can add more stress without helping you achieve any of your goals.
How Therapy Moves You Towards More Satisfaction and Less Stress
Instead of a work-life balance goal, we spend time helping you identify the work-life ratio you would like to achieve. Once you know your ratio, there are two ways to help ease the frustration and anxiety the quest for work-life balance created. One is the use of problem-focused strategies that modify things in your environment by identifying the priorities that matter the most to you.
The second is helping you develop transformational stress management skills that will allow you to feel better and relax more. The degree to which you understand how your brain works and how well you use that knowledge can reduce the amount of stress you experience without changing your circumstances.
Learning psychological tools that increase your psychological flexibility will help you feel less stressed at work and at home.
If you want to master the art of having it all without killing yourself with the anxiety of trying to achieve it, we can help. Contact us for answers to your questions or schedule an appointment online.