Is work-life balance a myth?
By Veronica Merry.
Have you just made the decision to further your career by doing some further study but, you have NO idea how you are going to fit it in to your already busy life? That was me very recently.
At the time, I was a part-time worker, part-time stay-at-home mum to my 2-year-old daughter and my husband worked full-time. Needless to say, keeping up with all my existing commitments was challenging to say the least. So how exactly was I going to fit in Masters-level study into the mix?
In other words…how was I going to achieve work-life balance?
My decision to study was going to impact me and my family in a huge way. I really had to weigh all of this up and discuss this openly and honestly with family before I made such a big commitment.
So what were the top 3 things I learned?
1.Work-life balance is a myth. I found there was a time for work, a time for study and it was important to not let those two override life. Finding moments of recharge were an absolute necessity. I couldn’t concentrate on my study or my work unless I had enough sleep and spent enough time doing the things I love to do. Going to my daughter’s swimming lesson, and watching her. Not just pretending to watch while I listened to an audio lecture, was a great recharge. Doing short guided meditations during study breaks to recharge my focus was helpful too. Find your way to re-energise yourself and you will perform much better at all three areas.
2. Creating systems and operating flexibly within them is crucial to success. I learned very quickly that planning study and sticking to my plan was an absolute must. However it was also really important to adjust the plan when circumstances changed. There were plenty of times when I did not achieve what I had planned to in a study session. Or had to submit assessment that I wasn’t entirely happy with because that was all the time I had to complete it.
3. It was really hard, but worth it. Actually, I think I may have underestimated how hard it was going to be to balance being a mum, wife, worker and student. There were a lot of early morning and late night study sessions fuelled by coffee. Every bus trip to work was spent reading journal articles. Chill out sessions watching Netflix were replaced with watching online lectures. However, when I got that email to say I had achieved my MBA with Distinction, it ALL felt worth it.
Veronica Merry (MerryCoach) is passionate about helping people and organisations learn, adapt and evolve to achieve their vision. Veronica has over 17 years’ experience in designing and delivering learning programs across a broad range of disciplines including organisation development, change management, leadership and performance development, mentoring and coaching. Contact Veronica to help you design and deliver your next organisational development program.