Andy Molinsky Ph.D.

Adaptation

Want to Be Happier? Ditch the Work-Life Balance Metaphor

You're probably more of a juggler, segmenter, blender, or eclipser anyway.

Posted Oct 14, 2017

Pixabay/geralt
Source: Pixabay/geralt

You've certainly heard of the idea of work life balance. But is balance the only way to describe how we manage our work and our lives? What if they're not in balance at all? Luckily, I've come up with some other options that might fit better. Take a look and see what you think.

Option #1: Work Life Juggler

Perhaps for you, life and work is more of a juggling act than a balancing act - and nothing ever is really in perfect equilibrium. For example: do you often have to work while sitting in the carpool line to pick up your kids? Are you on conference calls while trying to make dinner? Do you respond to emails in the check-out line at the supermarket? At least to me, this is definitely juggling - not balancing.

Option #2: Work Life Segmenter

Perhaps instead of juggling, you're really a segmenter: you place work and "life" into their little compartments, and do what you can to never mix the two. For example: a corporate road warrior would be a segmenter - leaving home for days, or even sometimes weeks at a time, to work on projects off-site. When you're at work - you're truly at work - 100%. But when you go home - you're all in there, too. But there's no juggling, balancing, or integrating of the two, pretty much at all.

Option #3: Work Life Blender

Do run a firm with your partner - who also happens to be your wife or husband? Does your entire family work at the restaurant you own and run? Do you own and run a start up with your entire extended family? And is your office in the garage outside your house? If so - you're a work life blender. There is no separation at all between work and life - it's fully and completely blended together, for better or worse.

Option #4: Work Life Eclipser

Okay. - I couldn't really find a great term for this one, and was inspired by the recent total eclipse we experienced just recently, in the summer of 2017. But the idea here is that there's no balance, integration or blending at all, because there aren't two elements to balance in the first place. For example, in version 1 of the "work life eclipse," you're all work - nothing else. When I lived in France in the early 90's, they called this "Metro-Boulot-Dodo" - which essentially meant that you go to work ('metro'), then work ('boulot') and go to bed ('dodo')... and nothing else. And then of course, the opposite version of the eclipse would be all life, no work - for example, taking a leave of absence or sabbatical from work, or simply bowing out of the work world altogether.

Option #5: Work Life Balancer

And then finally, there is the old standby - the work life balancer. And when you balance, the idea is that the two elements are in "correct" proportions. You work and you have your life and the two parts just simply work. Of course, balance means different things for different people. For you, balance might mean working 9-2, with the rest of the day dedicated to your family, whereas for others, it might be a 9-7 job, followed by dinner and family time.

Which image captures your current work life situation? And is that how you want to live your life?

Visit here for my very best tips on stepping outside your comfort zone at work. 

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