The achievement of equality between time spent working and one’s personal life.
To bring together the elements of work life and home life into a seamless, compatible way of being, without conflict or disharmony.
Which is funny, since the idea of balance conjures up an image of a teeter-tottersomething with two sides, not seven or ten!
But for me, it isn’t as simple as work on one side and life on the other.
Both my work and my personal life are many-faceted, and I’m guessing that may be true for you as well.
And while everything tugging on you may be high-priority values such as:
- work and productivity
- time with friends and family
- physical and emotional self-care
- continuing education and development
- community participation and giving back
- spiritual practices and renewal
- creative expression
Its often overwhelming to figure out which activities and pursuits will get your attention first.
It’s hard not to think that work/life balance means well somehow be able to give them all equal, or at least the right amount of attention.
Thats our limitation, but its also a gift.
What if we lived every day with that level of clarity, but it didnt take a crisis to bring us there?
An adjunct to that is our need. Need gets a bad rap, but human beings need each otherwere social creatures.
Recognizing our need coupled with our limitations forces us outside of our comfort zone in order to seek help. Remember the old saying many hands makes light work?
Its usually more efficient to work with our friends, family or colleagues in groups, and make use of each others strengths, but even when it isnt, the time passes more sweetly.
Besides, if we had no limits, how would we know love? Our limitations give our loved ones a chance to show us how much they love us.
What if we try integrating our needs and strengths, responsibilities and priorities, instead?
Like combining ingredients for a batter, you may want to start out slowly, combining two things together at first, before adding the third, and so on, in order to produce the smoothest resultsliterally and figuratively.
A friend of mind doesnt believe there is ever a day off from life, so he takes no down time. But he manages to incorporate productivity, friends, family, art, relaxation and intimacy into each day.
So this month, when youre taking some time to set your priorities for the fall, consider this:
When can you say no at work when someone asks to overburden your workload?
Make deeper commitments to things that matter, and let go of things that dont.
If youre lucky enough to work for a few well-funded tech companies, you may get a break room with sofas and catered organic meals, but for most of us, how can we integrate our lives with our time at work and vice versa?
Lets continue this conversation next month. In the meantime, read up on, and try out work/life integration. Its not the perfect solution but that may be part of the point.