Is focusing on work-life balance really the way to achieve your ideal life and work? Work-life balance is a phrase much bandied about these days. However, the phrase can be misleading. Misleading phrases can lead to actions that deliver different results to the ideal that you really want – and that is a problem.

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Why Work Life Balance is Misleading

Why work-life balance is misleadingIs focusing on work life balance really the way to achieve your ideal in your life and work?

Work life balance is a phrase much bandied about these days. However, the phrase can be misleading. And misleading phrases can lead to focussing on actions that deliver different results to the ones you really want – and that is a problem.

The Principle Behind Work Life Balance

Don’t get me wrong, the principle behind the phrase work life balance is a sound one. Focussing on the impact work life has on things like our personal freedom, quality of life, health, fulfillment, relationships, family life and communities, is a very important thing to do.

Why the Phrase Work Life Balance is Misleading:

  • it implies that work and life need to balance each other equally – misleading! Work and life don’t need to balance with each other equally. Work needs to support, serve and protect what is most important.
  • it implies that work and life are of equal value – misleading! They are not of equal value. Do you really put the same value on work as you do on your relationships, health, family and personal freedom? If not, then focussing on getting them to balance is counter-productive.
  • it implies that work and life are separate things – misleading! They are not separate things. When you are at work that is you living life. When you are with your family that is you living your life. Stop seeing work as separate to your life – IT ISN’T! There is only living life. Nothing else. Everything else is an activity. Important distinction.

Why this is a problem

The reason this is a problem is this:

If you are focussing on balancing work and life, it could be stopping you from taking the actions that will create your ideal based on what is most important to you and your core values.

Chasing balancing work and life doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve fulfillment in your life and work or create the reailty and results you really want. It doesn’t result in living life on your own terms. It might help you juggle things better. But make no mistake about it – you are still juggling, not designing the life you really want. 

So, it might be worth considering this:

Are your work life balance strategies moving you towards your absolute ideal work life, freedom, fulfillment, protecting your health. better relationships and living life on your own terms?

If not, it might be time to reassess your approach to this subject.

In the post The Alternative To Work-Life Balance we explore alternatives to focussing on work life balance and actions you can take that are more likely to support you in achieving your ideal life and work.

I would be interested to hear your views on the whole work life balance movement in the comments below.

Download a free self-assessment workbook and practical guide to get better results with any goal.

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  • sherry

    I agree with you. If we think about it to much it will cause more stress. Live one day at a time and work hard at what ever you do that day. Thank you!

  • I think it’s a work in progress. Sometimes it’s a slow process sometimes it’s much easier!

  • I agree Rena – it is always a work in process. I think of it like a dance – sometimes a waltz, sometimes a jive, sometimes a foxtrot and someyimes a slow smoothy!

  • I agree Sherry – being present is really powerful, as are having strong boundaries too!

  • I always think of it as a work/life balance over one’s life…sometimes you work a little more and sometimes you get to live a little more… but yes…I agree…it’s better to think of it as live while you work but also expect to work while you live…

  • Well said, it is like a constant ebb and flow….not balanced!