Why is it so hard to stop? Pursuing a work-life balance
So recently I’ve had a big life change, which has afforded me the opportunity and time to work on more projects that I am really passionate about. While being in control of my own time has been rewarding in so many ways, I admit, I have found it a challenge to pause and pace myself.
In my early twenties, I wouldn’t have minded but the older I get, the more I realise building in rest and balance is actually essential to being successful so I’m trying to address the situation. But, it got me thinking, why is it so hard to stop and what are some of the pitfalls and thus ways to avoid living life on the edge?
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO STOP?
Hustling is part of our millennial culture
As a person, people I’m inspired and drawn to often have similar character traits. They are driven, passionate and visionaries. I’m motivated by people who often appear to be juggling many hats. Equally in society at large, what do we celebrate more than almost anything? Achievement, success and entrepreneurs. In a world where outward success and activity is celebrated, driven by our love of social media, everyone needs to have a dream and be seen to pursuing it. It can be a challenge to resist this and reject the fear that a lack of visible activity in our early lives means we won't succeed.
Multi-faceted lives allow us the opportunity to pursue our passions
The internet and social media has created a wealth of opportunities for us to discover things, connect globally with each other and changes in working patterns mean that unlike previous generations, many of us don’t have our working lives confined to 9-5. During evenings, weekends and flexible working hours, being able to pursue our passions means that for many of us work is something we genuinely love rather than a chore so it’s no wonder stopping is not that attractive!
WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS OF NOT PAUSING?
‘Big doors, swing on small hinges’
When we are constantly on the go, it’s easy to make mistakes. I know for me, because of my personality and how I’m wired I’m an all or nothing person, and I make decisions quickly and stick to them. While in many ways, this can reap great benefits, in other ways, it can be problematic and that’s why even more nowadays, I’m trying to make this verse a part of how I live “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19. Creating big impact often relies on small decisions and when we’re constantly rushing it can be easy to miss the little things which make all the difference.
Activity doesn’t necessarily mean productivity
Constantly running on the treadmill of activity, doesn’t necessarily mean we are going in the right direction or making the best decisions. We can be in such a rush to get things done, we don’t always have the perspective to see other ways things can be done or live life with perspective and a long term view. We can get busy doing the wrong things and live to regret or dealing with negative consequences later on.
KEYS TO LEARNING TO PAUSE
1. Change your mindset
In a society that glorifies busyness, we need to reject the notion that being busy is a badge of honour. Living with purpose and intention, even in ways that people don’t see or that we don’t share, will help us to pace our lives. Even in conversations, rather than slipping into the default of telling people about all the stuff we’re working on or have achieved, why not flip the conversation and talk about things outside of work or business achievements?
2. Having the right support system
Having friends and family who can be honest and supportive is essential. Having those people who truly love us regardless of what we achieve or don’t, who can be truthful when it seems like our priorities or values seem to be in question,
3. Find things you enjoy outside of work
This for me has been essential! Because of the nature of what I do, the lines between work and leisure are often blurred but my friends have encouraged and helped me to find things outside of work I enjoy. Whether it be learning to cook new cuisines, or saving up and exploring new cities or reading, these things help to switch off. And actually, I find that when I then do come back to my work, I’m energised and refreshed and actually work better!
So if like me, finding a work life balance is something that you struggle with, I hope this post encourages you. Let’s learn to pause and remember life is a marathon not a sprint!