Are you satisfied with your work-life balance? Do you feel you have sufficient time for your private life? Or, are you working too hard and is your family complaining that you are always busy with work, or even calling you a workaholic?
If you don’t feel good about your work life balance, chances are that you are caught in the web of the work-life balance belief system and solving this issue may require a different approach than just trying to schedule more free time in your calendar.
The work-life balance discussion is very subjective
Since I started with my new assignment last week, I have probably been working 10-12 hours a day. And , during the week I have to stay in another town so I will only spend the weekends at home for the next 4-6 months and even then I will probably have to take some work home as well. Very few people would call this a healthy work-life balance, right? However, for me it is no problem at all. How is that possible?
Perhaps this is a good moment, before reading on, to reflect first on your own thoughts about a good balance between work and private life. What do you think about working “hard?” How much leisure time should a person have as a minimum? What is a proper balance between work and private time anyway? 50/50? 60/40, 30/70? And what if you really love your work and you want to work all the time, is that bad?
Do you notice how subjective this concept of work-life balance actually is? It is all about opinions that create a certain belief system which you may, or may not, agree with.
The work-life balance is about choice
Jack Welch, one of the most admired CEO’s of the 20th century, put it like this when talking at a conference of HR managers: “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.”
How does his statement sound to you? Do you agree? If not, why not?
Some people may agree with the choice part, but have problems with the part about the consequences. For example, when you work hard and spend very little time with your family that surely is not good people would argue. Well, is it? Are you not introducing other belief systems that are equally subjective?
Base your choice on what makes you happy
Think about this. Will your family benefit if you are sitting at home while you rather be at work? Or, will your boss benefit if you are in the office while you actually prefer to be at home or doing something else? Or will you benefit, if you feel unhappy about the work-life choice you made?
That’s why I focus on doing the things that really excite me, e.g. my work, even if it means that my work-life balance is totally different from what other people may think or say is good. When I do the things I love, my interactions with other people, even if they are brief, are also much more positive.
It is therefore very important that whatever you choose that you are happy with the choice you make, even if others are not.
Don’t make your choice dependent on others
While it may sound logical to base your decision regarding your work-life balance also on the preferences of others, e.g. your partner or family, you may want to avoid doing that because it will limit you and even create an invisible prison, as I learned the hard way and described in my book Choosing For You (1513). Besides, you rarely can please everybody when it comes to the conflicting interests of family and work. Remember, there are no good or bad choices, as it is all subjective anyway.
However, if this is the issue you keep on struggling with, you may want to listen to this video clip with Abraham (6:55). But be careful, the message may change your life…
Please feel free to share your observations and experiences when it comes to the work-life balance.