Hey, it's me, Shreya.
A question came up quite a few times at my meet-up in Bangalore,
And even more times in my inbox after last week's email (where I shared everything I'm up to these days, you can read it here)
The question was:
"How do you maintain work-life balance?"
Here's the thing, I don't.
In fact, I think work-life balance is a myth. And chasing work-life balance is a run towards nothing.
I mean, think about it: Do we ever talk about "Love - Life" balance?
"Health - Life" balance?
"Family - Life" balance?
"Happiness - Life" balance?
"Relationship - Life" balance?
"Mental health - Life" balance?
Well, I can think of 3 reasons:
- Because these are not terms that are fed to us regularly by media, unlike the term "work-life balance."
We are surrounded with echoes of the latter so often that I think the first words of babies in the near future might just be "How do I achieve work-life balance?"
- Because we understand that each of these things have their ups and downs.
We don't try to "balance" things out when it comes to health, relationships, family or happiness. We understand that these elements are not in our control, and we will ride a new wave everyday with them.
Yet, we think differently when it comes to work. It is only in the ups and downs of work that we freak out the most and assume it is not normal to ever fail in work, or even to ever succeed for a long period.
We think that if something isn't going right work-wise, then we have made some intentional mistake that now needs to be brought back to balance. We think that if something is going well work-wise, then we should pause and slow down and focus on the other things in life too to create the right balance. Both these approaches then hinder our growth for unworthy reasons.
- Because these terms just sound absurd.
Love - Life balance, Health - Life balance... umm, what? That's absurd.
After all, what even is life without health - physical & mental, family, and relationships? We simply cannot segregate these things from "life." Otherwise, how do we even define life?
The same holds true for work. Work is not life in itself, yet work is a large chunk of it. There is more to life than work, yet work is a huge part of life. And life cannot be defined without work.
So I think a better, actionable question instead would be,
"How do you plan your day/ week to be able to get so much done?"
There are two elements to this:
You already know that I'm working on launching 2 videos courses, 2 ebooks, 1 paid girls-only membership (and a few more things.) That's a lot of things I'm working on (along with my agency, hiring, and content creation.)
But, I'm not doing everything at the same time. I have defined my priorities, set deadlines for each of them, and am approaching whichever is most important right now, first.
If you have a lot on your plate too, make a list of your tasks, set a preferred deadline for each, and pick your topmost priority (could be 1-3 things) to complete first.
- Habits ➝ Systems
Once you have decided what to work on, the next step is to take action and get things done. This is where habits come in.
Think about it - To tick off the tasks on your priority list, what actions do you need to take everyday? This could be - Number of words you need to write; number of posts you need to create; a specific sub-task you need to complete; etc.
Next, take those actions everyday. You'll develop a habit of working on the task daily, and in this process, you'll be able to create a system that works in your favour.
Now, this is also where your feeling of "balance" will come in. The more committed and consistent you are with following your priorities, habits and systems, the more present you'll be in the moments outside of work too.
That's all for today.
See you again soon,
P.S. Hit reply and let me know what you thought about today's email :)