If you have been striving to achieve this balance I’m truly sorry, but your efforts have been in vain. Allow me to elaborate.
1. Calling it a work life balance immediately assigns the most importance to the wrong element in the statement. You do not stop living when you go to work. If you have a cold, a headache or an upset stomach you take them with you when you go to work. If your child is ill at school or your cousin has a baby during your workday someone will call you to tell you, a gentle reminder that your life is still happening whilst you are at work. Work is something you do in your life, it is a part of your life.
2. “It’s not a matter of work life balance. It’s a matter of doing what needs to be done.” Bruce Turkel is onto something. We need to balance our lives and all of the things happening in them. Just like a budget balances money and expenditure so life balances needs to balance our energy expenditure in all aspects. As Turkel puts it: “there is no balance – there is only deciding what’s important to you and moving toward it. There are only priorities.”
The belief that a work life balance doesn’t exist is being upheld and publicised more and more. In a recent article by INC covering the “American Made” conference, a few noteworthy business and family women shared their insights on the subject:
Judge on Shark Tank and well known businesswoman
‘”I gave up on balance a long time ago.” Now, she says, “I strive for anti-exhaustion.”‘
• Charlotte Beers •
Former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather and authoress of “I’d Rather Be in Charge“
Work- life balance is “highly overrated”
• Martha Stewart •
Entrepreneur, authoress and TV presenter. Curator of the “American Made” awards
She prioritises her work and her life on the same list.
There is a true gem in Stewarts practice of prioritising things on the same list: it allows for true prioritisation. If you have a personal issue nagging at you all day you are not going to be completely focused on your on job, the same way that if you are stressed at work you will most likely show that stress through your actions at home. Allowing employees the freedom to find and maintain their own balance will mean 2 things.
1: When they are focused on their work they are truly focused because that is their priority in the moment.
2: Their gratitude to you for allowing them to work within their ‘balance’ will show in their dedication and commitment to you and your company.
As Turkel concludes: “By combining work and life into one comprehensive package of who you really are, you can be both more productive and more present at the same time.”