The myth of work-life balance
One of the most common challenges that people bring to coaching is the issue of work-life balance. There is a sense that this is achievable and it just needs some hard work or discipline to bring this into effect.
The reality is that work-life balance does not exist as a scale that is evenly weighted.
If you think about the many facets of your life there are many more than two items that need to be weighed up. Things like: Family, friends, hobbies, health, community, work, studies and sleep.
Therefore, just talking about work-life balance is not inclusive of all the relevant aspects that need to be considered.
Alain de Botton says:
“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
What are the things worth fighting for?
That of course is the question that you need to answer for yourself. What is it that you really want to be part of your life? If it is your family, then they deserve to be given space in your life. We work with our clients to identify their values – what is really important for them. Often family is stated as a core value.
When the client starts looking at their behaviour, the fact that they are working twelve hour days, putting in extra hours over the weekend and even taking work calls while they are on leave, they have to question how congruent what they say is with what they do. They need to earn money to provide for their family. However, what would the family appreciate. A few less luxuries and more family time?
Time lost when your children are young can never be recovered. Often clients wonder why they are not close to their children and why they have communication gaps and grow apart as they get older.
The reality is that they were never that together when they were young. They do not share bonding experiences and create a common language. If you have no time for them when they are young, they will not have time for you when they are older.
The same is true for friends and community. Real friendships can stand the test of time and even physical absence when the bond is strong. There are many ways now to stay connected. It does not need to take a lot of time but it does need intention and attention.
Rather than focusing on getting the mythical balance in your life it would be better to take time to reflect on how you can be more intentional with your time and actions. Quality time has often been mentioned and that is really where the answer lies. Whatever you are giving your time to, give it wholeheartedly, be totally present to what you are doing so that you fully experience it and find the balance in it.
- When you are working take breaks that enable you to stop, reflect and re-balance your energy and your efforts.
- When you are with your family or friends, give them your full attention. People blossom when they receive quality attention, and in return they can give it back to you and you will feel it.
- Work out what you really value and then reflect on how much of your time are you allocating to those things, people, environment or whatever that will feed your mind, body, spirit and soul.
If you want to reflect on this, coaching can be that safe space where you can be supported to do
your best thinking, gain new perspectives and make changes that will impact the rest of your life and
the lives of those around you.
Not sure about coaching? Why not get in touch and have a free 45-minute coaching session where
you can experience it for yourself.
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