Nadine Fydryszewski, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS Region II Director

As we move through the phases of our life, we are constantly challenged with balancing our personal and professional lives. We are often in conflict with regard to all we must do versus all we want to do; all we are versus all we want to be. We are constantly striving to fulfill our personal and professional goals, but challenged with doing it all, having it all, wanting it all.” Gotta find me a future move out of my way, I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now” (Freddie Mercury – Queen).

I want to have career advancement and do well at work, I want to go out with friends ( but I’m at work), I want to go to the gym (but I’m at work), I want to pursue a higher degree (but I’m at work), I want to be active in my professional organization (but I’m at work), I want to have a personal life (but I’m at work), I want to play golf (but I’m at work), I want travel (but I’m at work). Does it seem like work is consuming your life? We walk the tightrope of life, the balancing act of finding the time and energy for everything we want – friends, work, family, hobbies, playtime, travel, social life, and somewhere in all of that, time to rest, relax, renew. But…… “I want it all and I want it now!” 

Distributing our time for all the “have to dos” and “wants” is easier said than done. We are also challenged with meeting the needs of others who impact our lives, both personal and professional. Sometimes those responsibilities can become first priority versus our “wants.” In some aspects, there is a commonality across the generations of our “have to dos” and our “wants,” and the challenges to achieve them. But…..I want it all and I want it now!” 

Young adults are starting a career, and the sky is the limit with so many things to do, so many things to want. You want to start your life, have some fun, do well in work, start a meaningful relationship, a family, look ahead to career advancement, pursue an advanced degree. “It ain’t much I’m asking, if you want the truth, Here’s to the future for the dreams of youth. I want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it now” (Freddie Mercury – Queen). 

Mid-lifers have, for the most part, established a personal life with a family, children, personal relationships, and a level of career success. All of this requires a significant time commitment to maintain, and what seems like no time for the other wants in life. As we get older, we have many of the responsibilities mentioned plus the care of aging parents, all of which add up to having little time left for the other wants. But……I want it all and I want it now!” 

“Listen all you people, come gather round, I gotta get me a game plan, gotta shake you to the ground, But just give me, huh, what I know is mine, People do you hear me, just gimme the sign, I want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it now”(Freddie Mercury – Queen). Interesting lyrics that reveal a key element to achieving our have to dos and our wants, “I gotta get me a game plan!”
Having a game plan is a first step in balancing our personal and professional lives and aligning our wants – both personal and professional. We may think about this all the time, and have a mental map, a mental picture. But, do we ever write it down – see the visual of the responsibilities versus the wants and desires? Once you commit something to paper, it is more tangible versus the “mind’s eye” view. Think about it – as professionals we would never think of pursuing a project without a plan, the strategic plan, the process, the standard operating procedure. Why is our life any different? 

Perhaps the idea of a major life plan is a little daunting, so think of a first step. How about “Today’s To-Do List?” List the five things you “have to do” and the five things you “want to do.” Make sure you do not compromise and strike out the wants in favor of more have to dos. Plan the day and make the time to achieve all of the have to dos and the wants. We know life does not follow the perfect plan – the best laid plans go awry. Life throws us curve balls and we have to duck! But, can you achieve the have to dos and at least half of the wants? It is a great achievement if you do three out of five! Congratulations, and next week you will strive to do better. Strive to achieve those wants with as much determination, dedication, and motivation as you do to achieve the have to dos.

But, another view is that our have-to-dos may also be our wants! We have to take care of our aging parents, but we want to take care of them. It is our joy (want) and our job (have to do). At times it seems frustrating because we have to change our plans, social event, a trip, or rearrange work commitments, to have to do something that in our heart we want to do. We have to go to work, but we want to go to work. We like our job, being with colleagues, excelling in our profession – the have to do is a want to do. On the flip side, our want to dos can be our have to dos. We want to go to the gym is also we have to go to the gym to stay in shape, for physical and mental well-being.

“So be sure when you step, 
Step with care and great tact. 
And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. 
And will you succeed? 
Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) 
Kid, you’ll move mountains.” 
(Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!)

“I Want it All” – Freddie Mercury & Queen – listen to be inspired.