The whole work life balance movement has been around for a fair amount of years. Yet there is still a significant amount of people who feel that they are struggling with juggling all the balls of life and the things they value most are suffering.

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The Curse of Work Life Balance

The Curse of Work Life BalanceThe whole work life balance movement has been around for a fair amount of years. Yet there is still a significant amount of people who feel that they are struggling with juggling all the balls of life and the things they value most are suffering.

It seems to me that something with the whole work life balance thing isn’t working or surely after all these years we would have the situation nailed.

So it begs the question:

What is Going Wrong with Work Life Balance?

The problem is what we are focussing on – balancing work with life. The two aren’t separate things. There is only one thing – your life. Everything else is a label for an activity you are doing within your life. So what is going wrong is that we are focussing on the wrong things – balance, and seeing work as separate to our life. This focus is resulting in sacrificing what we value most and our ideal life.

The Curse of Work Life Balance

The curse that chasing work life balance creates is that it just gives you more of the same. Yes, you may see some tweaks if you chase work life balance, but make no mistake about it, you are still juggling.

Chasing work life balance doesn’t actually remove the problem. And the real problem is that you aren’t living the life you really want.

Chasing work life balance doesn’t lead to you living your ideal life on your own terms. The thing that leads to living the life you really want is designing it based on your values, your own definition of success and what is most important to you – not chasing balance.

Here is something to think about:

Do you really want to balance and juggle the things you value most with less important things that cost how you REALLY want things to be?

OR

Do you want to live a life built on the things you value most with the less important things fitting in around them, protecting them and supporting them?

If it’s the first option, keep focussing on work life balance. If it’s the second option, then kick focussing on work life balance into touch. Instead, make a decision right now that you are going to design the life you really want, redefine your work and create lasting change.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Make sure you have a crystal clear picture of what your ideal life would look like. Define what constitutes a fulfilling, meaningful life for you including all aspects of your life as one.
  • Is that worth fighting for? If so, start thinking “designing life” NOT balancing life.
  • What would need to happen for your ideal to become a reality?
  • Don’t wait, start now – even if you don’t know how you will make it all happen. Think baby steps.
  • You can find more detailed tips and ideas in this 3 part mini series – Part 1 Why work-life balance is misleading. Part 2 The Alternative To Work-Life Balance Part 3 Goodbye work life balance! Hello success by design!

End the curse of work life balance for yourself. Eradicate mediocrity. Choose really living your ideal life on your terms. The freedom and fulfillment it gives is worth fighting for.

Do you have challenges with work life balance? What are your views on the whole work life balance movement?

Download Your Free Transformation in Action Self-Assessment Workbook.

  • Good post, Ali, with some sound advice. the term'work-life-balance' trips of the tongue often enough but it's well worth reviewing what it actually means to us as individuals. I did something similar to what you suggest about 7 years ago and it truly changed my life.
    Jane

  • Jane, you are spot on, it really does transform all areas of you life if you focus on exactly what you want and how you want things to be. Great to hear it worked for you too. Thanks for dropping by.

  • I think that I am moving that way this year, Ali. I'm not quite there yet but I definitely have cleared my plate and am sorting through what is important to me. Thanks for always making me think.

  • Julie, you are most welcome. I am so pleased you find the posts useful.

  • Barney, that is one of the things I see that really gets in the way for a lot of people – they look at something big they want to achieve, it feels overwhelming and they end up with bunny in the headlights syndrome and do nothing. Breaking things down into baby steps is very powerful in breaking this pattern. A question I find useful to ask myself when doing this is “what is the next most important thing?” Helps identify they baby steps and move in the right direction.
    In relation to what you said about mindset – this is absolutely key. Mindset has a huge impact on our success. Understanding the mindset you will need to achieve your goals and fostering that mindset is a must. Thanks for dropping by Barney. Appreciate your input.

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  • Barney Austen

    Hello Ali. Another post with more than one handy tip!

    I think the key, as you point out, is identifying baby steps a.k.a. realistic goals and objectives. If people try and leap from one to the other with no plan, things can go badly wrong along the way and they could end up more stressed out and fed up than they are now.

    I adopted the second approach about a year ago and it's starting to gel nicely now. It did require a significant mind-set change and this is possibly where the biggest challenge is, understanding the mind-set change needed and being able to see it through.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Ali

    I couldn't agree more with you here. The idea of “work life balance” comes from the corporate world. It was something that was dreamt up there, appearing to give people some permission that other things in life could be as important as work. Sadly, as you rightly say, the idea just puts work into conflict with life. We need to consider that we are living whole lives of which work is an important but not exclusive aspect.

    Looking forward to more of your series!

  • Hi Ali, this is so true and for those who are on the fence or indeed perhaps procrastinating about change (and we all do this) to do what you really want and fight for it – when you start to see it coming true you just can't measure it, it is so amazing and the happiness it brings is something you only dreamed about. I did this about two years ago – stepped off the high powered corporate ladder and with my family made one of the biggest and radical changes of our lives. We are still in a transition and will be for a while longer but you know it is so worth it and the happiness is huge. The first step is the hardest, the rest of the steps well you are on your road to the happiness you want – and it takes work but lovely work to get there.

  • Sharon, you put it beautifully. You hit it spot on when you say “you can't measure it”. Those feelings are priceless. It is the taste of real freedom and living life on your own terms – not dancing to the tune of others. Enjoy the transition. As you say, you are well past the most difficult bit and that is taking that first leap. Thanks for sharing your perspective Sharon.

  • Hi Ali, this is so true and for those who are on the fence or indeed perhaps procrastinating about change (and we all do this) to do what you really want and fight for it – when you start to see it coming true you just can't measure it, it is so amazing and the happiness it brings is something you only dreamed about. I did this about two years ago – stepped off the high powered corporate ladder and with my family made one of the biggest and radical changes of our lives. We are still in a transition and will be for a while longer but you know it is so worth it and the happiness is huge. The first step is the hardest, the rest of the steps well you are on your road to the happiness you want – and it takes work but lovely work to get there.

  • Sharon, you put it beautifully. You hit it spot on when you say “you can't measure it”. Those feelings are priceless. It is the taste of real freedom and living life on your own terms – not dancing to the tune of others. Enjoy the transition. As you say, you are well past the most difficult bit and that is taking that first leap. Thanks for sharing your perspective Sharon.

  • carla birnberg

    It’s amazing and almost disheartening how applicable in this post is today as it was five years ago. No balance here. Just striving for harmony.

  • My husband & I were talking the other day about my need to maybe ADD more work to achieve balance! It’s never static, always dynamic, this need of ours.

  • Lorraine C. Ladish

    I think by now I’ve come to realize there is no balance. Sometimes I’m full throttle with my work and creative projects and others I’m 200% family oriented. For me, personally, in my life, balance is a myth. 😀

  • I agree Lorraine – it can be different day to day, week to week and month to month – and that is why we need to design life – so that we are driving how those dynamics and fluctuations impact us.

  • I think that is a really important point. Many people are thinking in terms of a static situation every day, week, month and year when they chase work life balance but that is too rigid so never works. We need to design our life to be more flexible and accept that it can vary. As long as we are in the driving seat and it isn’t those things driving us, then that is OK.

  • Choose not to be disheartened Carla. Choose instead to acknowledge what is your current reality without blame, judgement or accusation (on yourself or others), be clear on what your ideal is and starting taking action to make that so. Onwards and upwards!