I May Have Adult ADD But I Wouldn’t Trade It For Anything: Refusing to Choose Between Work and Life

At an HR conference this week with a focus on wellness, the topic of work-life balance is bound to come up. It is and continues to be a buzz phrase in the field. How do we as individuals balance work and “life” and how do companies and HR professionals help employees find and gain balance in order to promote wellness and avoid stress and burnout which ultimately hurts company performance?

As I sit here writing this at the conference, my eight week old is with me. So is my mom who is here to help and also hear some key sessions at the conference she is interested in. I am going to sessions, volunteering for the conference, checking email and responding to clients, eating dinner with friends and aunts I haven’t seen in a while, feeding my little girl and changing her, talking to her and enjoying her precious grins that have just begun to make an appearance across her sweet face.

I think I may have adult ADD (attention deficit disorder) with the constant change in focus, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because I enjoy each component of these activities and roles, the lines between my “work” and my “play” or “life” are so blurred that I’m sometimes not sure which box I’m in, and in my opinion that is the way it should be.

You don’t have to choose between work and life.

The people I know who love their work don’t talk a lot about work/life balance. They do work, they do life and oftentimes they aren’t sure which one they are doing at the moment. It’s just all life.

So how do we get to the point of not needing to seek out work/life balance?

  1. Choose work you love. Finding the unique balance between your talents, your passions and your values will enable you the opportunity to choose work you love and allow you to make it an integral part of your life. It also allows you to clear the clutter and say “no” to things that really do not need to be a part of your life and your work.
  2. Surround yourself with people who support you in your work and life. I realize that this may be more of a challenge for some than others because to a certain extent it may be out of your control. I am fortunate that my mom was able to come with me to this conference because she too had a business needs to hear some of the speakers. My husband is at home with our other child manning that front, and he is glad to do it. But it goes beyond just having the support of family being close by or having the flexibility to help. It extends to doing business- working with and for- those who share the same mindset of work-life balance.

For example, I’m working with a marketing firm to develop a marketing plan and strategy to take the company to the next level. The timing of brainstorming sessions needed for this came about two weeks after I had the now eight week old. We didn’t postpone it. They came to my house to do it. Not one session, but two. They held the baby, I held the baby and, because my husband was still off on leave because of the birth, we were able to get his ideas too, which is highly valuable to me. In my opinion, we came up with, among other things, some pretty awesome tag lines for the three unique lines of services/products we will be offering soon. (If you want to turn on your creative side, go grab a baby while you brainstorm). Picture proof of this session here.

  1. Refuse to think either/or: I could have postponed the brainstorming sessions and I could have skipped this conference and some people probably think I should have skipped both. Aren’t most maternity leaves 12 weeks? But I’d rather do both from a different perspective- having my child with me, who obviously needs me almost constantly as an infant and who will so soon not be giving me those sweet grins that I don’t want to miss out on, and doing work that I love and I hope meets needs for others too can be done together.

I don’t have to separate my work from my life or choose between the two and you don’t either.

What are your best methods for doing life instead of having to balance work and life?

Mary Ila Ward

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