I Don’t Have Time…
Creating Work-Life Balance
Yes, there is only 24 hours in a day and no more. I have heard and even said it myself "I wish there were more hours in a day". Do we really want more hours in a day? Not really. We just want to get more things done in the hours we have and that isn't always possible.
How do you create a balance between your work, your home (family) and your community or volunteer work? Our professional lives are becoming more demanding for several reasons but one of the biggest is easy access to our work files, email and phones through the internet and our smart phones. I write about this from my own personal experience and those of close friends. I tend to look and respond to email, answer texts and phone calls when I am home and even on vacation. Could they wait until I am "on the clock"? They could but I am now programmed to answer because it is easily accessible.
"What if"...tends to come to the front of my mind. What if someone can't help with an event and I must find someone else? What if I don't answer and they think I am not doing my job? Because access is available, I may want to get it done so I don't have to deal with it later. There are many scenarios and many reasons why I continue to work even when my work hours are done but I have tried to keep it reasonable.
As a volunteer or someone who wants to volunteer, what holds you back from making a full commitment? When I make a commitment to volunteer, I have a certain idea of what the expectations will be before I commit. Most cases, I assume I will need to attend meetings. Whether it is a board or event planning, meetings are inevitable whether we like them or not. I assume I will be given certain tasks and I will need to follow through because they are counting on me. I have also learned that I make time for things I really want to do - for something that has meaning to me. If we didn't make the time to volunteer, where would the organizations be?
As a mom, creating that work-life balance was difficult. Demands of the job and demands of my volunteer work could cut into my most important role of being "mom". I struggled with this when my children were younger. A way I found to work best for me was to include them in my volunteer work. My kids began going with me to events and helping in small ways. They learned early on how important it was to volunteer. I'll never forget a conversation my middle son had with someone who asked him what his mom did for a living, he said "my mom's a volunteer". That made me smile because I worked for a nonprofit and got paid for some of the work I did.
Creating a work-life balance is a very personal issue and everyone needs to find out what works best. Family is important, the job is important and being a volunteer is important. That is what makes our communities great. Taking the time and energy to determine how to fit it all within the hours that is available AND making time for ourselves (don't forget that). My mother always told me "it will be there in the morning" and though I forget that sometimes, I know it will but in this day of instant access and gratification, it is hard to resist to get it off my plate to move on to something else. There is always one more thing and it is up to us how we balance it all.