Why Work/Life Balance is Important—A Guide for Women, part 1
By Karen A. Miller, CFP®, CFPA
There’s a reason that flight attendants tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else in an emergency. Because if you are not taking care of yourself, you cannot help anyone else.
This is something that many women are guilty of, myself included, and it’s no wonder. In between being a rainmaker at work, you are also likely a chef, chauffeur, caretaker, supply manager and more for your family. But finding the time to achieve balance can not only help you with your mental and physical health now, but may also help ease your transition to retirement later. In this first installment, we’ll discuss a few ideas for helping you achieve a better work/life balance.
Learn to say yes and no
You say these words every day, but has it ever occurred to you that you may be saying them to all the wrong things?
Women tend to say yes to that extra project you don’t have time for, yes to the extra errand when you can’t even get your own things done, and yes to whatever extra responsibility people ask of you. Often, we’re afraid to say no because we don’t want to disappoint someone or because we want to be seen as perfect. But the truth is that saying no can provide a lot of power (and believe me, the world won’t end). Saying no to some things can help save your sanity—and the more you say it now, the easier it will be to say it in the future.
Of course, on the flip side, women too often say no to themselves or to things that will actually bring joy to their lives. No, you don’t have time to play with your kids or have lunch with your friend. No, you don’t have time (or money) to take a vacation. No, you can’t open your own business—you need the security of a paycheck.
These answers may also be driven by fear or anxiety, but sometimes they’re driven by the “idea” that you’re too busy or that you cannot afford it, rather than by that reality. Consider that there will certainly be more dishes to clean tomorrow, but will your kids still want to play with you? Without a vacation, will you be too stressed to function at your best? Will your friends still be there tomorrow if you don’t nurture the relationships today? Will that business opportunity still be there?
Learning to say yes (or no) today and being willing to invest time and money in yourself may offer you the biggest dividends in the long term, helping you to lead a happier, richer, bolder life.
Put yourself first
When you are doing it all without truly taking care of yourself, you have the potential to burn out. And the problem is that when this happens, it can have a waterfall effect on your family and your workplace.
Consider that John Bowen of CEG Worldwide interviewed about 300 CEOs to find out the qualities that leaders have in common. And what he discovered is that successful business leaders make sure they get their own time before they share themselves with clients, colleagues or anyone else.
- First, they get up early and get their workout in (they know it won’t happen if they don’t do it first).
- Next, they often meditate, pray, or recite affirmations in order to start their day on a positive, calm note.
- Then they go to work.
The bottom line is that, like these leaders, you need to find balance in order to be at your best in all aspects of your life
At Gasber Financial we believe strongly in the importance of finding work/life balance now and we’re happy to help you determine the best ways you can achieve this. In part 2, we’ll dive deeper into tips for achieving balance now and carrying that into your retirement.