John Davies is a senior corporate partner at leading commercial law firm Thrings. As a TBE columnist, John regularly addresses a topical news or business-related issue. This time John talks about finding time.
Work. Life. Balance. Three words, one big statement.
It’s the utopia we’re all aiming for. Much like the fashion industry where men and women are portrayed by advertisers as having flawless faces, bodies and hairstyles, there are gurus out there who tell us we can all achieve the nirvana of a work-life balance. The perfect working day, every day, mixed with a home life that Disney writers could only dream of.
Well, well, well. I just wanted to bring you up to speed on some personal reality and how the smallest things can send your work-life balance (let’s call it W-LB from here on in, shall we?) into a tailspin. I’ve got lots of three-word examples which completely stuff the paradise we’re aiming for. Can any of you relate to these?
Dog. Sick. Carpet. Result: 30 minutes late for work.
Forgot. Son’s. Lunch. Result: an unscheduled return trip to school.
Unexpected. Traffic. Jam. Result: panic as the grains of the day fall into the bottom of the egg timer.
Teacher. Training. Day. Result: concern about taking time off.
Granted these may be First World problems, but they can cause huge amounts of stress.
Those tiny things, on any given day, can send your W-LB into the realm of stress and chaos. I think it’s symptomatic of being a working adult in society today. Work is full-on. Home life is full-on. The phone is full-on. Kids – if you have them – are unquestionably full-on.
Everything is so full-on it only takes a minor hiccup – think printer running out of paper at home – to turn ‘balance’ into ‘tumbledown’. How often do you see folk of a certain age rushing around, the world weighing heavy on their ever-shrinking shoulders? Got to get the work done. Got to walk the dog. Got to do the shopping.
Got to help with homework. Got to get to this or that. It’s all small and often unimportant stuff, but in a world where time is so difficult to come by, the balance is often hard to get right.
At least that’s what I think. Perhaps I’m alone. Perhaps it’s just me. If any superhumans out there have any tips, I’m all ears. Does the W-LB really exist? Did it ever? Or is it just a case of accepting that no-one’s perfect all the time, every time?
With that acceptance, should we just take a breath, take a moment and relax…….just for 10 minutes? Or maybe five minutes? Or just two?
No, can’t afford the time.
And to make matters worse, someone’s just pointed out that work-life balance is, in fact, two words, not three.
Oh gawd I’m stressed again!
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