Rihanna once sang, “Work, work, work, work, work.” The beat was rhythmic and the lyrics memorable. Many of us still sing along when it streams or plays on a local radio station. Yes, many of us work, work, work, but are we equally committed to rest, rest, rest?
For too many of us, the answer is no. We’ve become so engrossed with staying busy that we often mistake it for productivity. Yet, productivity and busyness are not interchangeable. In fact, productivity often includes resting and being focused on one’s overall well-being, including aligning one’s work with one’s life.
First, let’s talk about what alignment doesn’t look like. Constantly being on the go, not sleeping, not socializing with friends and family, and/or overcommitting are all signs that your work and your life may be imbalanced. They are also indicators that you are not taking care of the most important person in your life—you.
Contrary to popular belief and even societal pressures, putting you first is not selfish; however, it may feelslightly counter-intuitive. As someone who spent two decades of her life putting her career and others first, I woke up one day, quite literally, and decided that I needed to rethink how I was prioritizing my time. My life was imbalanced and work was being privileged over everything else.
Over time, I discovered that one of the most important components of life balance is self-care—the recognition that taking care of you enables you to maintain your overall well-being and wholeness.
There is nothing quite like trying to complete a project while having very little energy. Think about a time in school, on the job, or in the community when you were just one drop away from being on E—empty.
In a fast-paced, digitized society focused on outcomes and end goals, what might balance look like? I’d suggest that you start by looking at your current schedule. Ask: What do I want from this season in my life? Where am I spending the majority of my time? Who am I spending my time with?