Why Work Life Balance is NOT for the Self Employed

Why Work Life Balance is NOT for Home Business OwnersAre you chasing work life balance?

If so, why?

Is it because everyone is chasing it so it seems the thing to strive for?

Maybe you believe it is the answer to the challenges of juggling being Self Employed and having a life.

Whatever the reason you are chasing work life balance, stop it. Yes, you read right – stop it.

Why you should stop chasing Work Life Balance

The work life balance movement was started by organisations as a way to deal with the growing problems of the impact work was having on its employees and employees disquiet about it. So let’s be clear here, it was originally an employer led initiative.

Now, far be it for me to push on you my conspiracy theories as to why employers peddle work life balance to employees like pushers dangling the next fix. Suffice to say, as someone who peddled the corporate hamster wheel for 14 years, work life balance policies often don’t work at a practical level for the employee.

But let’s come back to the point at hand.

Why are you, as a Self Employed person, chasing something that was created for organisations?

Why Work Life Balance is NOT for Self Employed folk

Work life balance is not for you for three reasons:

1. It is a flawed concept

Striving for balance will not necessarily result in you having the life you really want. It will not necessarily protect what is most important to you. It will not necessarily deliver the results you really want.

2. The word balance leads to focus in the wrong place

It leads to focussing on creating a more even balance between roles. This doesn’t allow for the fact that some roles are far more important than others. So balancing them out isn’t an appropriate approach.

3. There is a much better option more likely to deliver what you really want

Working for yourself could and should be the ultimate in personal freedom and life on your own terms. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to grab that opportunity with both hands and make the most of it.

If Work Life Balance is not for Self Employed folks, what is?

Well, I recommend ditching the word balance and replacing it with design.

The reason being is that designing life based on your core values and what is most important to you gets you focussing on creating what you really want.

Using working for yourself as a tool to support what you want to create, rather than focussing on balance, is more likely to give you the business, family life and lifestyle you really want.

I don’t know about you, but there is no way I want work to balance with what is most important to me (and I love my work). Actually, I want a total imbalance.

I want my work life not to even come close to balancing with the family life and the lifestyle I really want. I want it to fit around it and be a tool that supports me in achieving my ideal.

How about you?

Where do you stand on this subject? Please share your opinions in the comments below.

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  • I agree wholeheartedly!

  • Thanks Royale.

    I think the whole design v balance distinction is very imporatant.

  • Loved this blog Ali.
    Over and over again I am told that I need to get some sort of work life balance into my life or I just won’t last the pace. Your last sentence ‘I want my work life not to even come close to balancing with the family life and the lifestyle I really want. I want it to fit around it and be a tool that supports me in achieving my ideal’ well that’s my ideal in a nutshell. Thanks for this great post, sending a link to all my friends now!

  • HI Mary,
    Welcome to the site. So glad you enjoyed the post.

    Letting go of the whole work life balance malarkey is very liberating. It opens the door up to design exactly what you want. Since leaving the corporate world 10 years ago I have never focussed on creating work life balance. It has all been about designing the ideal. Living the dream.

    After all there is only life. Everything else is just the label of what you are doing with your life at any given time. There is no work, then life. It is all just life.

    I wonder how many people in their twlight years say “I wish I had spent more time at work”. My guess is not many.

    I wish you every success in designing the life you really want for yourself.

  • I just recently wrote, “The reason someone like Oprah was and is a success is that she built her life (and business) around her strengths and surrounded herself with people and systems that managed her weaknesses. It’s not a total answer to balance but I’m thinking you’ll at least enjoy the ride a little more 🙂

  • Tony, that is such an important point. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Interesting twist on a well quoted saying…nice read…good points I don’t think we have thought of before. Has given us a new view on the well battled argument over work life balance especially for self employed….often it feels like your fighting a loosing battle! Thanks for the share 🙂

  •  Welcome to my blog. So glad my post gave you a new perspective.

  • Diymanpat

    Surely everyones balance or more accurately equilibrium is different?  Most people realise that a seesaw  wont be in balance unless both weights are the same or the pivot point altered. So to me  work life balance is about  giving the appropriate weight to the important things and getting them in  the right ratio to achieve your ideal work life balance, This should be more readily achieved as self employed as you have the control over your destiny rather than some one else. The only issue is this all assumes that ou can aquire the relevant levels of income to allow you to make those choices

  • I agree – being self employed should be the key to freedom. It offers the opportunity to design a business that supports the life we want to live. I think it starts with getting clear on what our vision of ideal is, based on our core values and are own definition of success and find ways to make changes to turn that into reality.