Below is a repost of “True Work Life Balance” by Natalie Crawford at theChristianGirl.net. As a working woman, I have a tendency to get my priorities out of order and this article really helped me to clearly see God’s structure for my life. I hope it helps you do the same!
Published on: January 27th, 2016
Written by: Natalia Crawford
How many times have you found yourself wishing you had more time for life, for family, for church, for yourself, or for the things that truly matter to you?
Finding true, genuine, and lasting work-life balance seems to be an ongoing pursuit. There are some who say achieving work-life balance isn’t possible, and others who say it is completely possible. I personally believe that work-life balance looks and is something different for everybody; and it starts with knowing what it means to you.
God created each and every single one of us uniquely. Not only do we all look different physically, but our personalities are also very different. In the same way, I believe that our work-styles are different. For example, my husband and I have very different work styles. As a business owner, he doesn’t mind spreading out his work throughout the day in order to also get personal things done in the day time. Because of that, he spends most days working late into the evening. I, on the other hand, like to work during a specific and uninterrupted period of time. I like to have a chunk of my day be dedicated to work and then go home and take care of personal things. In other words, I like to separate the two while others might prefer mixing them.
I don’t believe that either is wrong. I think finding true happiness when it comes to work and finding work life balance is about knowing what works for you. So, here are a couple of tips on how you can find work life balance that works for you:
Know Your Priorities
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6.33, New King James Version)
I personally think this is something every professional should do. What are your priorities? And what order do they go in? There are so many people who spend countless hours in the office neglecting their family and faith. As Christian women, our faith should always come first. A good exercise to do is to create a list of your priorities. For example:
Relationship with God
Relationship with spouse
Relationship with Children
Know what truly matters and treat it that way. Don’t let things get mixed up. If your marriage is suffering or your relationship with your children is suffering due to your career maybe it’s time to check priorities and remember what is most important. Never let your job override the ones you love.
Know Your Balance
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;” (Jeremiah, 1.5, NKJV)
As I mentioned earlier, everyone has a different work-style. Figure out what works for you. When I was newly married I saw how much my husband worked and I felt guilty for not working as much as he did. But as much as I tried to keep up with him I quickly realized I was not created to be the same way. Know what your balance is and work on getting past the guilt. Be okay with who you are and learn to communicate it. I know I am a morning person and am therefore most productive in the mornings. I’ve communicated that to managers and have been allowed to have earlier work hours that then allow me to go home earlier. To me, balance was getting all of my work done earlier in the day, being home before 5 to make dinner, and having some time to myself before bed instead of getting home at 6, making dinner, cleaning up by 8, and then rolling into bed exhausted from the day. Find your balance and don’t be afraid to communicate it in your workplace.
Know Your Boundaries
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29.11, New Living Translation)
There are people who can work 10-12 hour days without finding imbalance in their life. I can’t. And if you can’t either, that is okay. There are people who can manage a billion projects and teams and keep pushing themselves to continue that lifestyle mentally and physically. I can’t. And if you can’t either, that is okay. I have allowed myself to be pushed to stress to the point where I began to have health problems. That is not the life we have been called to live. Things like that should be red flags in our life and should cause us to make a change. Know what you can handle and set your boundaries. Knowing your priorities will help with this too. If you can’t stay late because your family has plans, say no. If you can’t take on another project because you don’t want to work weekends, say no. Know your boundaries and communicate them. Right now, it is popular to see content and influencers telling women to be bold, ask for raises, ask for higher titles, etc. While I agree with those things, what about asking for what matters to you in regards to your personal life? Asking for what will keep you healthy and happy? You might have to give up a faster promotion or being the bosses favorite, but if it means having a happier life and healthier relationships, I think it’s worth it.
Once you know your priorities, know your balance, and know your boundaries the most important thing to do is communicate it. Communicate it to your spouse, your manager, and your friends. Know what and how much you can handle and know that it is okay. You don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but God’s. What does He have to say about the way life is prioritized? About our health? About our relationships? That is what truly matters. Find your balance and stick to it. You’ll find yourself having a happier and healthier life.
Bible translations used:
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.