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By nature I am a real doer. I was one of those people who was always doing, who was busy, busy, busy and my Mum used to say she felt exhausted just watching me. I would wear my busyness as a badge of honour; juggling two small children, a full on job 4 days a week, numerous social events, part time) studying and launching a business. I would leap about (or sometimes crawl once the kids were in bed with my to do list in my head and feeling like I was never exhausted. Turns out I was.
The irony is looking back I felt like I had balance, at least on paper. I worked remotely and part-time, spent time with the kids, supported my friends and family, exercised and put my kids to bed. What I didn’t realise was that work-life balance is not defined by how much you do in different areas of your life (although I am an absolute advocate for balancing work and play). Balance is about being and doing in equal measures. It is about getting things done but also about being present and maintaining a good head.
It was then that I stumbled across Ariana Huffington’s book ‘Thrive’ and something in it really resonated with me. The curse that is multi-tasking. She is berated in the book by her Mum who sees her sitting and playing with her children whilst checking her emails. It’s something I identified with. Even when I was sitting with the kids I felt like I had to be getting something done. There was no balance there. It was all goal striving and achievements. Another tick off the to do.
My clients frequently tell me that they feel like they don’t have any work-life balance in their lives, they feel frazzled, anxious and burnt out and they feel guilty. In this day and age we are constantly stimulated by social media, phones, emails, adverts and it is, quite simply, taking its toll.
So how do you get balance with work and family?
Balance is not easy but by striving to get a bit more of it into your life you will soon reap the rewards with a happier, more fulfilled you. Life really is about the journey and striving for more balance makes the view much better along the way.
Caroline Britton is a business and life coach who works with clients to get the best out of themselves and/or their business. With 14 years of experience working for a global consultancy she now offers 1:1 sessions and runs large workshops in Manchester and London. Caroline is a Mum of two and understands first hand the difficulties in trying to get balance with work and family life!