Advice I Wish I Received 8 Years Ago
By Leez Kuznetsova
“Work-life balance” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot these days and for a good reason—we live in a world where it is possible to work every waking minute. Trust me, I know because it's been my reality, identity & battle for the past 8 years of my life.
So what kind of advice would I give my younger self (and anyone else that has ever felt like they can't detach from their list or 9 to 5)? Well, for starters, I would lead with life and change the term "work-life balance" to "life-work balance". I would also tell my younger self these 3 things...
You're so much MORE than your job
When most small talk starts with "What do you do for work?" and we spend 8+ hours working, it's no wonder we lose touch with who we are outside of work. Yet, there is so much more to us humans beyond what we do for a living. It's the things we read for fun, the songs we sing along to while dancing in the kitchen, and words of encouragement we give to a family member in need. It's the conversations we have with our friends while sitting around a bonfire or the heart to heart we share with our own reflection in the mirror after a long week. Those are the little fragments that makeup who we are — not what our business card says we do for a living. I mean just think how much cooler email signatures would be if they also came with our mantras.
Pencil in YOU time
If you don't make yourself a priority, nobody else will. If you think you can't afford to take even a small break, consider what happened to me these past two years alone. Almost every day, I woke up around 5 am, cracked open my laptop and chipped away at a to-do list that only got longer.
Once I got to the office, I became a slave to this very list, adding on tasks faster than I could ever complete them, carrying right into my evening. Once back home, the list continued to dictate how I would spend my time...often times getting in the way of being present in my relationship, spending time with my family and friends, pursuing other passions and interests, and working out, to say the least.
Over time, my sleep cycle got thrown off, my personal relationships started to deteriorate, and I developed painful side aches that may or may not be stress related.
But then I had an ahhha moment. Okay, maybe more like an intervention. I finally realized I needed to add "take care of me" to the very top of that list. I needed to draw a line in the sand and channel all those extra hours I was spending working on work to work on myself.
ACCEPT the reality
No matter how many emails you read, calls you take, or to-do's you check off your list, there will always be more to do the next day. So instead of wrestling with the illusion that you can get everything done on your list, do your best to prioritize what's most important without forgetting one little thing: when everything starts to be important, nothing is.