The staff of PBS’s great news program, Newshour, write:
Last month, we devised a company-wide social experiment. In pursuit of work-life balance, we would each choose one thing we love but can’t seem fit into our lives, and for one week, we would fit it into our lives. We’d just find a way to do it. How hard could it be?
It turns out: pretty darn hard!
We chose running, swimming and biking. We vowed to write letters to old friends. Dance for an hour every day. Do creative things with our kids. Play music. Read a book. Unplug. For a week, we tried it. There was a spreadsheet of activities. We held a meeting. And we reported back.
Many of us had failed. Our bike tires were flat. Our guitar strings were broken. Our kids didn’t care that we had embraced our inner preschool teacher, and rejected our crafty activities.
But we learned a few things. We procrastinated by doing things that were slightly more productive than things we normally do. Instead of reading books, we did two hours of “sweaty rain-soaked yardwork.” Instead of riding our bike, we took our bike to the shop, and that was a step in the right direction. Instead of writing letters, we went to softball practice. Instead of doing Martha Stewart-quality crafts, we filmed our kids shooting hoops.
And they gave themselves a break. They tried to judge themselves less harshly and just spend the time with their loved ones.
Work-life balance isn’t static, we learned. The things we think we should do don’t always improve our days…. When we let go of judgment and paid closer attention to our families and ourselves, we were happier than when we tried to force another piece into an already overstuffed pie.