Deanna Young

How do you balance work and life?

Throughout the various stages of my life, like many professional women, I often revisit the question – how can I find balance between the demands of my work, family, and self?  We’re expected to be constantly available to address personal and work emails, social media and schedules across multiple time zones, personalities and cultures. Thus, finding equilibrium in such a dynamic environment can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

The word “balance” often leaves many of us feeling discouraged.  Finding balance becomes a burden and the discouragement of failure becomes a millstone of personal disappointment that can be demoralizing. To counter this destructive pattern, I constantly remind myself that it is completely unrealistic and unproductive to focus on a “perfect” balance.

Rather, I shift my energy from “finding balance” to “experiencing purpose” through three mental exercises that I believe are critical to creating a meaningful life – reflection, intention and integration.  Over the years, I have applied these principals to my life in the following ways:

  • Reflection is necessary to understand where you are and where you want to be. It helps you ascertain which actions you need to continue or reinforce which actions to cease. Through reflection, I become self-aware and hone my empathy for those around me.
  • Intention is about defining your personal daily mission and ensuring it is aligned with your overall goals. I work to envision the life that I want to live. I use the help of my personal and professional support system to root out biases and keep me focused. By defining my daily intentions, I remain true to who I am and who I want to be.
  • Integration of ideas and actions is the kinetic energy that drives me toward my completion of daily mission and personal vision. Each day, I stop to evaluate what’s ahead, and I set priorities to integrate the things that are significant to me, my family, and those in my workplace. 

Through these exercises, I have learned to respond, rather than react, to life’s ever-changing challenges and opportunities. In doing so, I find myself more “present in the moment” with my family, work and myself. So, my advice is simple – start focusing on your passion, your intentions and your means to create a life that integrates all the things that are important for you.  It’s your life–make it meaningful.