I started this blog last summer as I was contemplating the challenge of work-life balance. I wanted to push myself not to get lost in “the haze,” the feeling that days and weeks go by as you go to and from work, rushing everywhere, and you just don’t know how all the time slipped away. I know a lot of people experience this phenomenon. I also knew back then that that the only way to fight it was to make the “life” part as mandatory as the “work” part. We have to show up to our jobs and meet commitments. So, I wanted to make commitments to myself: take time to eat well, cook, enjoy my home, enjoy walks with my dog, stay connected to family and friends, travel, read, and do other things that made my life fulfilling and complete.
That’s what balance means to me. It’s not about lofty, ethereal (usually unattainable) goals. It’s not about doing or having it all. It’s about making sure there’s more to life than work and career goals. It’s about making sure I start my day with a slow dog walk, end it with slow food, or a fun project like organizing my photographs, or a good book or movie, or a nice night out with my husband… It’s about taking the time to plan ahead: plan fun things for the weekends, plan trips to see friends.
And I found that by taking time to make time, I really did have more time.
It also allowed me to hone in on my own passion and purpose in my daily work, and act accordingly. The “work” part of “work-life balance” is just as important to me. It’s about using my days in a meaningful way, working towards bigger goals, doing cool and creative things that make a difference.
As I began to be conscious about experimenting with work-life balance, I also began to notice that we’re all going through similar small daily struggles to figure out the same things: how to live a passionate, creative life doing great work, while also being about more than that. How to be there for family, our communities and ourselves. There are so many people in the Los Angeles area, where I live, that have careers I admire from a distance–usually from across a screen (Twitter, Instagram, etc.). I wanted to get to know them, learn what “work-life balance” means to them, and make this blog about more than my own experiments. I want to make this a place to learn from others too.
For some reason, success is often associated with fame and wealth, but I find there are so many “real” people, who aren’t on covers of magazines, that are doing cool things that inspire me, and I’m on a mission to find them in my city, and other cities, and have a cup of coffee with them as often as possible (some of the Q&A’s will be done via email if geography, or LA highways, get in the way).
I hope this Q&A series resonates with lots of people. Stay tuned for the first post next Wednesday, and every Wednesday after that.
I also hope you’ll share your own thoughts in the comments section below. Now tell me, what does “work-life balance” mean to you?