WEST Wisdom Blog

The Myth of Work-Life Balance & How to Make Time for What Matters Most

Posted by Courtney Cyron on Jan 24, 2023 3:09:30 PM

A life full of pieces that are important to you can be a truly amazing thing, but it can also be demanding, stressful, and draining. So many things in our daily lives are important to us: our physical and mental health, our families, our jobs, our friends and colleagues, hobbies, and communities we are part of, the list can go on. These are all amazing things that enable us each to build a life that we love. We can love our jobs, our families, our friends and colleagues, spending time practicing hobbies, resting and recharging ourselves, but can we balance doing it all at once?

What if we stopped asking if we could balance it all, and took a new perspective? What if each thing we love in our lives didn’t become another ball to juggle or precarious perch among the other things in our lives, but instead became a piece to be fit together, like a puzzle, or a Jenga tower? If we looked at our lives as one big Jenga tower we would recognize that by building a strong foundation, each piece of our lives could truly fit together. We may remove a piece here and there, but if we fit all the pieces together the right way, you have a strong tower full of meaningful experiences and relationships.

WEST’s upcoming event: Life-Work Balance? It's a myth! Let's play Work-Life Jenga and prioritize what is important to you by exploring your values focuses on exactly that. Led by several professional workshop facilitators, this event will offer attendees an opportunity to self-reflect on how you are currently spending your time. The solo reflection period will focus on what pieces of your life are currently getting your time and attention, as well as being able to identify any pieces of your life that you may wish were getting more of your time or attention. After an opportunity to reflect on these areas of your life alone, attendees will break into groups for a reflection and growth discussion period. Each group will be led by one of the professional workshop facilitators and will break down where there may currently be missed opportunities to adjust certain pieces of your life. Use this time to look for ways to maybe make certain pieces of your life smaller so you have the ability to add another piece you’ve always wanted to add, or remove pieces that are no longer serving you so you are able to add pieces that will contribute to a more meaningful life.

“We don't always give ourselves the opportunity to pause, to reflect on where we are spending our time, and how satisfied we are on a variety of dimensions. When we allow ourselves that time to take a step back from the day-to-day, and take consider where we are spending our time  - sometimes we surprise ourselves! Sometimes our time and effort spent is exactly where it needs to be - for the moment in which we reflect, and other times things are a little misaligned and we might want to make some adjustments,” says Laurie Bohn, one of WEST’s professional workshop facilitators. 

After spending time reflecting on your current life pieces, and finding opportunities to either better fit them together, or add new, more meaningful pieces to your life’s Jenga tower, you will leave with a fresh, renewed sense of energy for your day-to-day life. In addition, you’ll have had the chance to identify several specific action steps you can implement as soon as you’re ready to design a life that is more fulfilling and meaningful to you personally. Every attendee will leave with a personalized answer to creating a meaningful life.

Pallavi Srivastava, one of WEST’s professional workshop facilitators and a Leadership Coach shares, "I am especially excited about bringing the idea of our values into the work-life mix. Values are at the core of who we are as a person and they are very important to us, even if sometimes we are not consciously aware of them. Values are our ‘why’ - why we do what we do, why things that matter to us matter, why we care about things we care about. Knowing our why  (in other words, our values) and letting them inform our decisions, priorities and actions can make the flow between work and other aspects of life  easier, clear and most importantly guilt free. What excites me the most about this workshop is that we will be bringing the concept of values alive  with exercises and group facilitation, so that the participants can walk away with actionable steps to apply in their life and bring real change."

After this event, you’ll see ways to make your life’s pieces fit together in the best way possible, giving you the opportunity to engage with each piece with your full attention. It will be amazing to see the difference it can make when you are able to show up to each ‘piece’ of your life with your full attention. 

Etta Jacobs, one of WEST’s professional workshop facilitators, says, “My mission, as an Executive Coach, is to help my clients find ways to relieve their stress by letting go of their expectations of perfection. There is no way to fit everything into our daily lives. And yet, too often, we feel guilty when we can't, or we feel we're doing something wrong. In this hands-on Jenga workshop, you will gain the tools to help you define your priorities and find creative ways to make the time for what is important to you. Our goal: to support you in letting go of the guilt so you can feel confident that you've made the best decisions for your life.”

This event is based on an article written by social justice advocate Stacey Abrams. In her article, Abrams rejects the notion that it’s even possible to ‘balance’ our personal and professional lives. She suggests that work-life balance is actually an impossible achievement as there will always be something that can throw off that very precarious balance. It could be something simple like getting stuck in traffic, or something a little bigger like your kid getting sick, or a million other things, either way, the ‘balance’ is too delicate to remain in the ever-changing, ever-surprising lives that each of us live. Abrams suggests, instead, that if we look at all of the most meaningful parts of our lives as Jenga pieces that can be stacked together in a solid form, we are much more likely to be able to value and purposefully engage in each piece. Abrams argues that if you discover what matters most to you, you can find the most meaningful way to fit all the pieces together.

Tammy Gooler Loeb, one of WEST’s professional workshop facilitators shares, “As Stacey Abrams says so plainly of work-life balance, "the phrase is a bald-faced lie." She goes on, "The relentless pursuit of this unachievable end results in hours of self-loathing and diminished quality in the time that we spend in pursuit of either work or life." We all know this and yet, continue to reach for this type of equilibrium in our lives as if it is a gold standard. I am excited about the Work-Life Jenga workshop because it offers us frameworks for making more satisfying choices in how we spend our time, energy and focus. We can all do this better and even have some fun learning along the way!”

“Join us in this 90 minute session to connect with your values - revisit and try to more deeply understand our 'why' - and then spend dedicated time to evaluate your satisfaction in where you are spending your time. Once you've reflected individually and in pairs, you will be able to take advantage of the small group facilitated session to consider additional questions, while getting ideas and advice from peers and a seasoned facilitator on this very important topic,” says Laurie Bohn.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by your own work-life balance, or wanted to find ways to dedicate more time and energy to pieces of your life that are truly meaningful to you, you won’t want to miss this event!

2023-01-25 2x1


Topics: Career, Life, You, Self-Awareness, Empowerment, Self-Reflection, #WESTevent, STEM Women, STEM Leadership, Strong Women, Strong World

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