About Work-Life Balance by David G. Guerra, MBA
We hear that all the time and what we think about when we hear those words in that order is a misnomer. There is and there never will be WORK-LIFE BALANCE.
First, what is Work-Life Balance? Wikipedia defines Work-Life Balance as “a term commonly used to describe the balance that a working individual needs between time allocated for work and other aspects of life. Areas of life other than work-life can include but is not limited to personal interests, family and social leisure activities.”
What does all that mean? It means people will work diligently to ensure that they are living a 50-50% life. Meaning 50% of life is dedicated to work and the other 50% is dedicated to life outside of work. Well that is not the literal meaning, it is meaning most people find easy to accept, latch onto and try (fruitlessly) to accomplish.
Why Fruitlessly? It will not yield positive results. In fact, trying pull a King Solomon (splitting everything down the middle) is not going to work for a sustained duration. Sure, it might look good at first but it will start to buckle and fail. Eventually, both sides start to suffer in that ultimately the mindset of “it all has to balance” will take over. Once that mindset sets in it is extremely difficult to get back on track but it can be done. Unfortunately, it involves re-wiring their way of thinking, believing, and behaving.
What will work? What works is believing that there can never be true balance when it comes to Work-Life Balance.
No Balance? Exactly, there can never be true work-life balance. One side has to give a little more. That’s what we have to work on. Not on the balance but on that the other side does not hit the balance. Picture a playground see-saw one side is one the ground and the other side is high in the air. You get on one side and you go to the ground. Your clone else gets on, weighing the same as you, and you balance out. Now add some work files to the side your clone is on and now it starts to sink. What do you or your clone do? Your clone works diligently to finish the assignment. Slowly, the teeter-totter goes back to balance. Then just as quickly, your son forgot to tell you about the extra early Friday practice, so now the balance shifts and your side of the seesaw starts to drop and the process repeats.
While it might sound similar to the 50-50% balance mindset. It is with one major exception and it is to ensure that you recognize things in life will happen to keep you off balance. The thing is not to get so wrapped and stringent on ensuring you remain 50-50 all the time but that being out of balance is a natural state and so long as you do not let one or the other take completely over, it is OK to remain slightly off balance.
Do not overthink it. Do not expect to control it. Most of all when it comes to Work-Life Balance the only option is to know you cannot win at this game. The rules are always changing. Therefore, just go with the flow when it comes trying to manage Work-Life Balance.
*no Clones were harmed in the writing of this article