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No More Leftovers: Making Room In Your Life for Relationships That Matter

Parenting & Relationships
No More Leftovers

“I can’t — I’m busy.” has been uttered by all of us to avoid communication, events, and everything in between. But as women professionals sway toward finding purpose as a way to work smarter with greater significance (see our article), it’s time to prioritize personal relationships, utilizing these connections through effective purpose pathing to boost our careers and our lust for life.

We took to social media to ask our audience of hardworking women:

Describe how you balance everything on your plate. Do you find work-life blending to be a daily conflict? How do you organize your energy & time to devote to your relationships, interests, and hobbies?

I connect with people during the day via text message or funny memes to brighten their day and mine. I have the energy during the day and it doesn’t interfere with family time.

I take a lunch break and leave my office to truly have a break. Even if I just sit in my car, I leave my desk to completely disengage for at least 30 minutes.

I read affirmations throughout the day as a boost. When I encounter a lull or discouraging situation, I read an affirmation to reaffirm positive feelings and beliefs.

I use a physical planner to plan my week. The act of intentionally writing out my week and including downtime lets me see how much I’m committing to so I don’t over-commit or burn myself out. I also include at least an hour to engage in one of my hobbies.

— Jamica Ashley Whitaker, M.A.

2nd Degree Connection
2nd Corporate Communications Leader

I give myself grace because balance is impossible.

— Simone Pure Photography

Candid-Art Dating Photographer

Portion control, figuratively speaking, and prioritization. Also having a strong ‘no’

— Lekisha Middleton

Founder of @goodsuccessnetwork

There is a crucial difference between “blending” and “balancing” work and life. Understanding that distinction requires identifying how women leaders transition to a purpose-driven work-life blending strategy.

Redefining Family Dynamics

We’ve seen seismic shifts in family dynamics since the ‘50s brought the ‘nuclear family’ into normalcy. One big difference between then and now: Personal and professional expectations have not caught up. For a nuclear family dynamic to work, jobs needed to be able to pay one person enough to afford caring for an entire family.

In today’s household, providing for the family requires more contribution due to disproportionate inflation and wages. After considering inflation, today’s wage has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. And since many female expectations haven’t changed in those last 40 years, the burden of invisible labor and the mental load is apparent, with women experiencing burnout twice as often as men. Considering that women do 50% more unpaid work at home than men, who’s to blame us?

And while job flexibility does have its benefits, a less-structured work schedule might actually increase work-life conflict for women, while it tends to create a sharper focus on career goals in men.

Creating a Work-Life Blend That Reflects Today’s Working Woman

In the typical unblended dynamic that’s been the status quo, ‘leftovers’ is the best way to describe how relationships outside of the office are handled.

Put it this way: If your overall priorities were represented by a cake and the goal was to divide equal pieces among important relationships and career goals, it would make sense to cut equal slices for every priority.

But many women struggling to find a work-life blend give most slices to their career and all that’s left is ‘crumbs’ to divy up between well-being, relationships, friendships, household responsibilities, and families.

Every day gives us a chance to divide our effort and time in a way that benefits us. To divide your time appropriately and make room for the things that matter most, you must determine which parts of your life actually deserve a slice of the ‘cake’ and which do not.

Create a healthy relationship with work.

Just like any other relationship, a job requires boundaries to foster respect on both ends. One of the most avoidable mistakes that women professionals make is being available outside of work hours. Being ever-ready for a quick question or task might make you seem extra-committed, but this is a breeding ground for toxic culture and makes efficient work-life blending impossible.

Prioritize self-first care.

This is a cliché, but it’s true. “Me-time” is crucial to staying focused, productive, and happy while preventing burnout. You’ll be able to reflect on yourself and your purpose during simple self-care activities.

Make Room for Meaningful Relationships

Finding balance as a friend, partner, and parent can only happen once you make a purposeful effort to make room for these relationships. When dividing up your ‘cake,’ remember that the slices you give to your career and purpose won’t be anywhere near as delicious without the relationships that keep you motivated and fulfilled.

All of the above not only help you connect with your relationships, but they also benefit in other ways, which is why we use ‘blending’ instead of ‘balancing.’

Take these three tips with you to maximize work-life blending.

Your Community: Develop your support system

Don’t be afraid to seek support from your loved ones and share feelings that may otherwise go unaddressed. In doing so, they’ll feel more connected to you, understand your need to say “I can’t — I’m busy,” and will be aware of the role they play in your work-life blend.

Your Calling: Take time for what matters to you

Giving back to your community while pursuing your passions is one of the most fulfilling and versatile things you can do. Whether you contribute to a community garden or fundraise for a local animal shelter, your mental health will benefit. This will have a domino effect on productivity and happiness.

Your Purpose Path: Incorporate your relationships in your work and calling

Successful working women incorporate their work and relationships into their purpose to stay motivated and create deeper connections within their networks.

Approach your employer to develop new programs and opportunities that meet the business’s needs while fusing your experience, competency, and calling all in one. In turn, you’ll blend your career and personal life, make time for self-care, and become invigorated by your relationships — creating greater harmony. An effective work-life blend cannot exist without an accomplished sense of purpose and calling.

Another cliché, but the only way to find time is to make time. Bake a positive, productive, and purpose-driven cake that’s guaranteed to leave no crumbs behind.

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