Work life balance is not what we should aim for ! A critical thinking 🤔 about work life balance…
Work life balance is typically understood as a state of equilibrium ⚖️ between work and personal life demands. A desirable goal, a frustrating search, a myth, or a buzzword…🤔 Should we even aim for it? I don’t think so 👎🏼!
Because work and life can not be separated and do not have to compete!
👉🏼 The term itself is a claim that work is bad while life is good, that work steals all the time and energy from our life and that life should claim them back! To me, work and life do not have to compete and can not be separated. Let’s simply put it this way:
1️⃣ We overall spend 1 / 3 of our life at work, so for sure work is life! but remember life is not work 😉
2️⃣ Work does not have to be experienced as negative! It often comes with a sense of meaning and achievement, fulfilling relationships, and satisfaction…(and if your current work does not provide you with any of these at any time, it could be a good idea to change 🤔). Of course it does not mean that everything in your workday is fun but you should aim for the majority to be! Last weekend, we welcomed home a photographer friend who shared that he does not consider conducting photoshoots as ‘work’ (in its traditional negative meaning) although some aspects of his job can be daunting (E.g. admin…). Good news: I feel the same especially since I set up wellbeingyourpotential👏🏼👏🏼!
3️⃣ Life (in the meaning of non-work activities) is not only made of relaxing and fulfilling activities 😎 🧘🏻♀️! It also includes constraints and responsibilities! The mental load and the actual time and energy involved in managing a household and taking care of a family are also draining. Ask a homemaker (gender-neutral term for housewife) if his/her life is all about fun, thriving and being in the flow! Personally I am often more exhausted 😴 on a Sunday evening than the rest of the week days!
💡 So Work-life balance is not about separating work and life, it is more about reconciling what we want to do and care about with what we have to do originated indifferently from work or non-work activities!
Because ‘balance’ sets an unrealistic goal and anchors limiting beliefs!
Work-life balance has been typically associated with the aim to reach 50% work/pain in the traditional meaning of work and 50% life/fun generated from our non-work related activities ⚖️. I personally disagree with this idea of ‘balance’ 👎🏼…:
🖐🏼‘Balance’ is unachievable. Indeed circumstances change and events happen (a birth, a project launch…); needs and priorities evolve through our life. Aiming for a balance sets us up for continuous failure…making us feel incapable and potentially unhappier!
🖐🏼‘Balance’ anchors the self-limiting beliefs such as ‘I must work hard’, ‘Life is hard’… I realised I grew up with these two limiting beliefs preventing me from moving the cursor from what I have to do to what I like to do! Since then I allow myself to fill my day with a majority of things I enjoy and care about! Life does not have to be balanced with only 50% fun, let’s authorise yourself to move the cursor!
Insteast let’s move our cursor from what we have to do to what we want to do…
Here are 3 simple steps to move your cursor from what you have to do to what you want to do!
1️⃣ Develop self-awareness 🤔. It is about understanding what you like and want to do in your life, what you care about, what you are good at and what you are passionate about ☀️. It is also about listing what costs you to complete 😨. The exercise is demanding but necessary to give you insights into the changes you should make to move your cursor!
2️⃣ Bring ☀️more☀️ of what you enjoy in your life! Initiate a job crafting with your manager to align your job with what you are good at, care, love to do…Schedule everyday ‘non-negotiable time’ in your calendar for things you enjoy🏼(E.g. exercise, friends, play with your kids,…)
3️⃣ Let go of what costs you🖐🏼! Outsource what you don’t like, they are someone else’s favourite activities or job. Start asking your team members and your peers what they enjoy at work and you will be surprised how complementary you could become! Try to do the same at home (online delivery, help from your partner, your growing children, professionals…). Don’t forget you can say NO🖐🏼 to work and to invitations (see article link)
👉🏼Note: I am not talking about letting go of what challenges you but rather what does not bring you joy or a sense of accomplishment…challenges on the contrary can actually be a great source of enjoyment!
💡 To conclude, to me work-life balance is not about spending equal energy and time between work and life, it is about moving our cursor towards more things that makes us feel good originated indifferently from work or non-work activities!
❓What do you think about starting moving your cursor today!?