Day 33: Stop waiting for work-life balance. A post inspired by Nigel Marsh’s Ted talk

Day 33 of 365 Days of Ted is all about the age old pursuit of  reaching life-work balance.  Ted speaker Nigel Marsh shares some personal stories from his own life that sent him down a path of discovery about  exactly how one can require that perfect life balance.

It’s funny how milestone birthdays can make up shake up our lives… or at least want to

When Nigel  turned 40 he started to do what we all seem to do when we hit milestone birthdays – we reflect. For most of us this means spending a few weeks on either end of our birthday reevaluating what we are unhappy with and promising ourselves to make significant life changes.  It’s kind of like supercharged New Years resolutions. However,   most of us never really take significant action and ultimately end up   back where we started.   This is where Nigel stands out. After the realisation that he worked too much, drank too much and neglected his family, he decided to take a year off to find what work-life balance looks like.

Nigel admits that finding work-life balance is super easy if you actually take a year off work, but when Nigel went back to work again he did struggle to find out how to maintain a balance. It was however a pivotal moment for him  one afternoon  that changed everything – his wife called him at work and asked him to pick up their son from school.

Nigel left work early to pick up his son and they spent the entire afternoon playing on the swings at the park. After a pizza at a local cafe   Nigel got his son ready for bed finishing up with a bedtime story from Roald Dahl.   Not a particularly extraordinary afternoon but that didn’t seem to bother his son.   As Nigel was leaving his son’s bedroom, he told his dad something that would forever change both their lives and those fortunate enough to hear the story “Dad, this has been the best day of my life, ever”  Those eleven words was the aha moment that Nigel needed and it  that taught him that “small things matter.” He realised that it is not the big significant changes that help us achieve work-life balance.  Work-life balance can be achieved my making sure that we  fill our  lives with enough of these small moments that matter. This will change our lives.

So many people  I know are working their hearts out trying to break free from the 9-5, filling every spare moment trying to launch their own start-ups  so that they can work for themselves, have financial freedom and have their say on how they balance their lives.  I cant argue with anyone trying to reach financial freedom, i’m doing this myself,  but I don’t think that you need to wait to reach this future point in time before you reach this mindset of work-life balance. Really treasure and fill your lives with lots of small moments with your family and friends.

Setting boundaries

Work-life imbalance is not an issue reserved only for those who are employed by other people.  The self-employed or those who work from home face these challenges on another level and that is that their work is brought into the home. The boundaries between work and home life become hazy and messy.    This is especially true for people who actually make a living doing something they love. One could argue that the work-life balance for people who have a passion for their work is irrelevant as if you do what you love, what you love  is not work.  I agree with that sentiment to an extent, but I think that it important to remember that are  more parts of our lives other than what we do to earn a living.  In order to have a truly balanced life we need to be careful not to neglect our family, friends, health and recreational activities. Our truly balanced lives depends on this.

Today’s action steps

The biggest imbalance in my life is blogging. If left to my own devices I would probably be blogging 24/7. I know that this isn’t healthy and I  am going to  limiting the amount of time each day I can spend working on my blogs. Some might argue that if blogging gives me enjoyment why change anything . And that’s a valid point. I am just trying to be mindful that other areas of my life are not being shortchanged by the imbalance in one area of my life.

What do you think? Do you have an imbalance in your life? Do you think it matters? Please let me know in the comments below