Top 3 Reasons You're in a Work/Life Rut


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"I wish I had more quality time with my family. "

"There just isn't enough time in the day. "

"Work/life balance? Yea right!"

Any of those statements sound familiar? If so, then you may be in a work/life rut - unable to move from talking about work/life balance to actually attaining it. What's worse is that you probably don't remember exactly how you got into that rut, and you're even more bewildered about how to get out of it!

There are three primary reasons you're stuck in a work/life rut:

1. You're complacent.

2. You're unwilling.

3. You're fixated on inaction.

Ouch. Those are some tough truths, huh? Let me explain further. . .

1. You're complacent.

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines complacent like this: Pleased, especially with oneself or one's merits, advantages, situation, etc. , often without awareness of some potential danger or defect.

I speak with a lot of working moms who “have it all" - a well-paid corporate career, a beautiful home, a SUV or minivan in the driveway, a supportive husband, and beautiful kids. If there are elements of you in that description, then I'll bet you're generally, pleased with your life. After all, you've achieved most everything you've imagined, maybe even more.

Yet, you may be tiptoeing on the edge of complacency; the affects of which only become apparent when you experience those uninvited moments of unfulfillment and frustration.

Complacency causes you to ignore the affect your career-driven focus has on your family. It allows you to overlook the financial weight of your lifestyle. It enables you to minimize key relationships with your spouse, family and friends. It provides an excuse for ignoring the things in your life that just don't “feel right. "

How to counter complacency: Imagine a new reality. Consider your entire life (career, family, finances, friends, health, etc. ) and create a vision for what you really want it to be like. Be descriptive and specific. Seek to move closer to fulfilling that vision everyday.

2. You're unwilling.

You want work/life balance. Are you willing to do what it takes to get it?

Often times the things that you want, have more control over you than your willingness to get them. For instance, maybe you want a more flexible work schedule that allows you to telecommute one to two days a week. Every day as you climb into your car and grovel over the hour-long commute to the office, you think about what it would be like to reclaim a couple hours of your day simply by telecommuting. Then, the thought of approaching your boss with this idea enters your mind and you think, “It'll never happen. "

The truth is that it CAN happen, if you're willing.

"Yea, but I am willing!" you may shout. Are you really?

Asking for the things you need or want to achieve work/life balance may include doing things that you'd rather not face. Yes, it's difficult to ask your employer for a flexible work arrangement. Yes, it's difficult to earn less money in a job that demands less of your time. Yes, it's difficult to say “no" to relationships that drain you. Whatever challenges you face in achieving your ideal work/life balance, you must be willing to face them.

How to counter unwillingness: Unleash your burning desire. Also known as a catalyst, your burning desire usually comes when you're completely fed up with a situation. It's the “I can't take it anymore!" feeling that lights the ember of desire already burning inside you; it moves you from wanting to willing.

3. You're fixated on inaction.

Working mothers operate 24/7. You're life is all about being in action, and as a result, you automatically seek inaction. You want to slow down. You want to rest. You want to be still. Your thoughts are fixated on not doing anything because you're just too tired, too worn out and too overwhelmed.

The problem with being fixated on inaction, is that it causes you to fall into the one or both of the other two pitfalls - complacency and unwillingness. You'd rather not try to change the way things are because it will take more effort, time and work. You're already so depleted that you can't imagine doing MORE.

How to counter a focus on inaction: Move toward your ideal work/life vision every day, no matter how small or difficult the action. The thing about action, whether you're moving forward or backward, is that every step creates momentum; every step becomes easier. Choose to step toward your vision everyday and the momentum will carry you in that direction. (Of course, the opposite is also true!)

What you can do right now:

Resolve to get out of your work/life rut. . . today. Shake off that complacency, shift to a willing attitude, and choose to do things that move you toward your ideal work/life. With consistency you'll find your work/life groove and never complain about work/life balance again!

Reprint Information:

©The Integrated Mother and Michele R. Dortch. All rights reserved. You are free to reprint this article as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Also, please let us know by email to where the article will appear. The attribution should read:

“Work/life effectiveness expert Michele Dortch is the CEO and founder of The Integrated Mother, a company commited to developing opportunities for working mothers to thrive and succeed as corporate leaders, parents and individuals who positively impact the world. To request her free Work/Life Makeover Kit, visit ”


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