Do you have work/life balance?
Follow this carefully:
|The number of days in a year is||365|
|Sleeping 8 hours a day totals||122 days|
|52 weekends – two days (Saturday and Sunday) totals||104 days|
|Three weeks’ holiday totals||21 days|
|Easter holidays and May Bank Holidays take another||4 days|
|An hour for showering, breakfast, getting ready, etc. totals||15 days|
|Two hours’ commuting totals||30 days|
|One hour on lunchbreak totals||15 days|
|Half an hour for coffee breaks, toilet trips, shopping, etc. totals||7 days|
|One hour for your evening meal (preparing, eating, clearing away, etc.)||15 days|
|One hour for emails, phone calls, social media totals||15 days|
|One hour for television totals||15 days|
|Christmas Day and Boxing Day take up||2 days|
Which leaves 0 days for work!
So why are you worried about work/life balance?
Okay, so the logic is flawed and with a bit of thought, you can see how you can quickly be fooled into thinking a certain way.
Why isn’t this logic applied to the concept of work/life balance?
Work/life balance is hard no matter who you are, how long your commute is or what kind of work you do. Why? Because work/life balance is a big hoax! The more you believe in it, the more miserable you become.
Think about it. The phrase is actually meaningless. Life is not at one end of a fulcrum with work on the other end! There is no separation between “work” and “life.” “Work” and “life” aren’t binary. “Life” is much more complex than “non-work.” This myth continues to be perpetuated with the phrase being readily dropped into the conversation without any thought around the logic about what is being said.
The issue with the phrase “work/life balance” is that it compartmentalises everything into work activities (meetings, clients, trips, conferences) and life activities (family commitments, holidays, hobbies, keeping healthy).
Work is an integrated part of life. You only have one life – you just happen to live some of it while working and some of it engaged in other activities. Like most people over the age of 20, work takes up a major proportion of your life and has to be realistically integrated into all of your activities to give you a rich, rewarding and meaningful focus. It is all about personal organisation and finding ways to relax.
“Balance” is dynamic, not static. Finding balance means that “work” and “life” varies, sometimes on a daily basis. Balance is not a state of being. Balance is the fulcrum: the dynamic middle point of push and pull. Being balanced is not about being static. It’s a process requiring constant adjustments, decisions, and corrections so that you can respond to opportunities and challenges. Balance means shifting with the priorities of the day, week, month and year and accepting that.
Also, a balanced day doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to accomplish more in less time. Through the practice of mindfulness, you can learn to slow down in order to speed up; to evaluate what matters and reallocate time to those things.
Stop believing in the fallacy that is work/life balance. It’s a false mindset. Instead, come to terms with the flux knowing that some days will feel more balanced than others.
Work to get as much enjoyment from your life, no matter how your time is utilised.
[The author has the rights to the image – purchased from iStockphoto and adapted]