The Work-Life Balance Myth

balance.jpgI love talking to people about work-life balance. Some are so adamant about finding work-life balance and about creating work-life balance for employees. I hate to crush people’s hopes and dreams but work-life balance does not exist for most people and I just hate to see people waste their time. I’ve witnessed so many lives change for the better when they stopped their endless search for work-life balance.

The problem is an unanswered question: What is work-life balance? We say we need to do all of these things to find balance like offer stress management, change the work schedule to four days per week or allow remote work options. Balance implies that there is a formula though. Merriam-Webster defines balance as, “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.” So, how do you ensure that work and life are divided in equal amounts?

You can’t! Many of you have found yourselves in a conversation with family or friends about work, having to stop yourself to say something along the lines of, “Okay, enough about work!” So, even if you are not actually working off hours, you’re often thinking about it.

The reality is that sometimes, life will require more of your time and sometimes, work will require your undivided attention. In any given year, you could spend more time on one versus the other. Yet, there are plenty of successful people who find happiness despite not having a balance between work and life.

I only see people get more stressed out because they are looking for this unknown balance of work and life. The thing is that work-life balance also means that there is a separation between work and life. It suggests that work is not part of our lives, that they are two totally different things. Wake up call: work IS a part of life!

So, how do we fix this problem of work-life balance? It starts with a mindset change. Instead of looking for a balance, start finding ways to integrate everything in life. Many people often ask me how I have learned to balance my work and life because they tell me how they never seem to find the time to do some of the things that I do. My philosophy has allowed me to be genuinely happy regardless of how much I’m working. I’m connected all the time and completely disagree with with all the media that says we should not be. If being connected causes someone stress, it’s because he/she lets it.

Being connected all the time has helped me be more available, responsive and caught up with work. I’m a better employee and leader because of it. Yet, it has also helped me become a better person, friend, daughter, sister, niece, neighbor and volunteer because I’m not stressed about work all the time since I can make quick decisions about what to address in the moment and what can wait when it comes to work. I can do that because I’m always connected!

I’m never behind on deadlines, projects or tasks and this has allowed me to not only integrate work into my life but life into my work. It’s not two separate things for me like it is for many others. Since I’m always caught up, I can also flex my work to attend to personal things. When my personal life calls for my attention, I never feel guilty about not being at work because the opposite is also true.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this (check out my post on Work-life balance is so last year!) but I haven’t made the impact I want to yet so who’s with me? I invite you to jump on the work-life integration bandwagon. Find your flow, not your balance. It’s pretty awesome!

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One thought on “The Work-Life Balance Myth

  1. Pingback: Let’s Say Yes to Social Media at Work | OD Advocate

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