We all talk about a work-life balance, but what actually is it? The difficulty in defining this statement is that it is different for everyone. It also changes at different states of life. I’m sure that what you thought was a work-life balance when you were in your 20’s, is very different to what it looks like now.
Question: Does a work-life balance always have to be such a strict split of work in one pile, and then everything else in another?
I don’t know about you, but I certainly have more going on in my life that splits into many more groups that deserve attention, and come to think about it, multiple sub-groups too!
When you think about trying to achieve balance, you need to know what you are trying to balance. So…what does it actually look like?
If you try to get away from thinking about a work-life balance and more about a work-life management system, you can get a little bit closer to being able to fit in everything that you want, and ultimately, need to fit in.
The trouble with a work-life balance way of thinking is that you have work in one pile, and everything else in the other.
In general terms work can be quite consistent. There are times that are busier than others, but we know what we are trying to achieve. We may not have exactly the same thing to do at the same time every day, but we know that there are certain duties /activities that we have to perform and we know what we are trying to achieve. In our personal life however this changes on a much more frequent basis. Managing our individual needs and wants, as well as other people’s, changes much more frequently. People grow and develop over time, we aren’t robots in our emotions and thoughts, and even different seasons have different demands and expectations. All in all, this makes planning and balancing a difficult task.
If we were to start thinking in terms of “what I as an individual can manage,” we can adapt our internal resources to be able to stay in control of what is going on around us. We need to be aware of all aspects of our life, but we don’t necessarily need to balance what is going on at home with what is going on at work. We just need to think in a flexible or fluid way.