True Work/Life Balance: A voiceover & working mum’s perspective
There have been thousands of articles, blogs and books written on ‘how to maintain a perfect work/life balance.’ From advice ranging from eating healthily to remembering to take some ‘you’ time, there’s no shortage of ideas as to how one might achieve this elusive balance.
But as Abbey, a popular Australian voice over artist (and a working mum) says, ‘there’s no such thing as perfect balance.’ And she would know! With multiple daily sessions to juggle, clients to keep happy, offspring to wrangle, family to deal with and life to live – achieving any sense of balance amidst this busyness can seem like a real challenge.
Imagine that, like Abbey, you’re a mother of primary school-aged kids and a working voiceover talent. On any given day, there are lunches to pack, shoes to find, children to taxi, clothes to wash, food to cook, voice sessions to attend, scripts to record, arguments to referee, baths to oversee and bedtime books to read…
All before you try to have some quality time and conversation with your partner before both falling into bed at night, exhausted. (It’s been so long since you’ve had any ‘you’ time that you can’t even remember what you used to enjoy doing!)
There are many creatives who successfully juggle work careers and family life. And while it might seem difficult to successfully do both, the key is to stop trying to find perfect balance. After all, it’s like putting all your work, family and personal responsibilities on a seesaw, getting everything positioned perfectly and saying ‘OK, nobody move!’
Life just doesn’t work like that:
The Principle Of The Fulcrum
As we all navigate our day to day lives, the principle of the fulcrum could be a more useful metaphor for helping to find true work/life balance.
For example, perhaps you’re pitching for a large ad campaign or you’re finishing a complex end-of-month client report. Maybe you’re an audio producer or writer and you’re producing the voice overs for a large radio network rebrand. Your workload is heavier than usual and you need to put more time into it to get the job done.
During these seasons, the fulcrum moves towards your work commitments as you focus more attention on them and less on other areas of your life. Your work ‘load’ is heavier, but things are still balanced.
A few weeks later, you find your family requires a greater focus. Perhaps you have a child navigating challenging issues or your partner has some health concerns. Again, the fulcrum shifts – this time towards your family as you put more time and energy into them. But things stay in balance.
Then, in another season, a non-profit you’re involved with requires additional input over and above the normal. The fulcrum shifts again as you focus additional energy to help them solve an unexpected problem.
The key to remember is that these shifts are for a season.
Our lives can be busy (and stay balanced) if the fulcrum continues to move as demands on our time and focus change. We run into trouble when the fulcrum stays fixed with a bias towards work. You can always be passionate about what you do, love your job and give it your best. But in the long term, if work always demands additional time at the expense of family, things can easily get out of balance.
Don’t feel bad about shifting the fulcrum during different seasons of life. Just make sure that it does continue to move – because that’s how you’ll find true work/life balance.
Abe Udy is the creative director at Abes Audio.