The "Work-Life Balance" isn't Real
By Tim Walker
One of the biggest things adults struggle with is coming up with a work-life balance. How do you stay sane and find time to relax while juggling work, family and other obligations? It’s a serious question in today’s world. But what if “work” and “life” weren’t something to balance at all? For many people today, work is life. At the very least it’s an element in our lives and not something to balance against “life.” The real key is trying to figure out where work fits in with the rest of your life.
As Katherine Wintsch points out in this post, when we make work and life a “balance,” we are talking in a way that pits the two things against each other. “If our work life and home life are literally and figuratively at odds with one another, how will we ever win,” she asks. “No wonder we feel so guilty about family matters when we’re busy at work and so distracted by work when we’re occupied at home. Work-life balance is a lose-lose metaphor.”
Wintsch’s solution is a life that feels whole, but not necessarily balanced. Sometimes work weighs heavily. Sometimes home life does. At our last M Force company meeting, we talked a lot about the things that fill our lives. Work, home, church, kids, etc. They all take up room in our lives. Here’s a video we watched that helped explain the concept.
This really illustrates the idea that work and life aren’t competing. Work is a part of life. Something that needs space just like everything else. (If you’re interested, we’ve talked more about the importance of work here).
This next part isn’t going to come as a surprise to anyone. Finding the right life mix isn’t getting any easier. This new survey from Workfront has some pretty interesting findings.
- 57% of employees think technology has ruined the definition of a family dinner
I can attest to this one. And not just at dinner. Screens have permeated all aspects of our interpersonal lives. Go to any restaurant, you’ll see what I mean. I once went a few weeks without a cell phone. It was interesting
- 60% of employees blame their bosses for a negative “work-life” balance.
Bosses take note! If your employees feel overworked, they’re going to blame you, and that’s probably not going to end well. It certainly won’t lead to a company that retains happy employees.
As we enter the new year, let’s think about what will take up our time. What really important? How does work fit into our lives? Which rocks will go in the bottom of your jar?
Happy New Year!