I have heard the comment “I am trying to achieve work-life balance” almost daily. Not that this can not be accomplished, just that it will not be accomplished in the current frame work of what it means.
Working time for the average professional has increased by an average of 60% per week in the last 10 years. The number of stress related disabilities has doubled in that time as well. So this idea of work-life balance was correct where is the proof? [Work-Life Balance]
The problem with the idea of work-life balance, it divides two very important parts of our lives and tries to scale them so that they are equal. That in itself is where the problem lays.
If we have the opportunity to do meaningful and purpose driven work there is a good chance we will spend a lot of time on that work. With the idea of balance in the picture this can lead to guilt about what we are spending the time on.
Work-Life Balance is really about finding experience in the freedom of the things we do, weather it is work or play. My suggestion is to work less and play more. This does not mean less work and more play. This means an integration of work and play. Blur the lines little, be flexible and integrate your passion for work into all the things that fill up your day.
Integration means a few things, first you need to make sure your employer will allow you a certain amount of flex time. Time to be away from the office to accomplish other things, to be able to work from remote locations and at different times. Also, blend some of the things you like to play at, with work. People that love to golf have been doing this for years.
If you have children get them involved as well. They will love to be included, the lessons they learn will be life enriching. They will get an understanding of what you do when you are away. Then when there is a time of long work commitments they are better able to support you.
Another important thing to do is to find your most productive time. (Heat Mapping Your Productive Time) Once you know this, set that time aside for work if you can. Then you can get more done is less time so you can intergrate other things like fitness, time with spouse, friends and family etc.
So stop striving for work-life balance, it is not a win/lose proposal. Integrate, blur the lines of work and play and truly let go of the idea of work-life balance.
What do you think? Can we have work-life balance or do you like the idea of work-life integration?