Work-life sway is the new work-life balance. It’s a more realistic concept and it’s time that we retire a goal that isn’t consistently working for most of us. Have you heard of this new goal? If not, you’re in for a treat and a bit of motivation that will help you manage work and life better.
Why Work-Life Balance is Hurtful
If you feel like you are spending too much time at work (or thinking about work) you feel “unbalanced".
Likewise, if you are dealing with issues at home and you feel like you’re not succeeding at work. It’s hard to give 100% to either side of the scale because you fear you’ll fail someone or something! So your goal is to try to split your time, energy and effort equally between work and to your life.
This goal zaps your time and energy because you can get frustrated trying to attain it! Even when you do reach that feeling of balance, if something affects the scale you need to start your balancing act all over again. It turns into a constant struggle. Don't you think you could do without this? Working motherhood is challenging enough!
How Work-Life Sway Works
Think of a grandfather clock’s pendulum. It always sways left to right, without fail. This is how your mind works already, right? Your thoughts sway back and forth between work and life, without fail. With work-life sway, you can control your thoughts purposefully and manage interruptions with ease.
Here’s how work-life sway works. When you wake up your thinking about getting everyone ready and out the door—you’re thinking about your life. Once you are alone your thoughts begin to sway toward work. You think about what work you will be doing, how you’ll manage it, and how you feel about it.
Inevitably, your concentration is interrupted.
You start thinking about your life, or maybe get a phone call from your spouse or daycare. This interruption will force you to sway your thoughts to your life. When you get back to work you will sway again. This is reality, working mama, and to fight it is futile. Work-life sway is a process that will help you adapt to working motherhood.
How to Start Swaying
First, know your personal and professional values and priorities. When armed with this information you’ll sway easier. You’ll know when the right time to sway is and also you’ll be able to sway back quicker when needed.
For instance, let’s assume one of your values is family and putting in a good effort at work (competency). Your top priority for the day is to start a difficult project. It’s hard to focus though. You feel unappreciated at work and daycare drop off has been really hard lately. Finding a new job sounds like a good idea.
There is a time and place for everything though. You can make a job search a priority at a different time. At the moment you need to provide for your family and this means starting that project. So you'll focus your time and energy on the project, and then on the way home, sway your thoughts to your career planning.
Make a voice memo of your thoughts on the way home since you don’t have time to write. Then once you’ve captured your thoughts, you’re ready to sway to your family life. When the kiddos are in bed you can sway back to career planning.
Why You Want to Try Swaying
When you set your mind to work-life sway it relieves stress and eases chaos. Why? Because you’re not fighting to make things even-steven. Interruptions don’t cause chaos and upheaval because you expect them. Work-life sway will help you deal with your emotions and interruptions. Neither will feel like a big deal because you are just going to go with the flow.
Your values and priorities will help determine how you'll sway between work and life. You'll be more likely to go with the flow and stay in the flow so that all important work gets done when it's supposed to.
When you are swaying back-and-forth you don't feel a weight like you do with work-life balance.