Work Life Balance
It’s Not Work-Life Balance…It’s Just Balance!
The notion of “work-life balance” is not a new phenomenon. People have tried to achieve this so-called harmony since work became an integral part of life. But if you ask me, work has always been a part of life. Since the days of hunting and gathering, work, while a large part in those days, was still just one aspect of life. In that sense, then, to me the goal is not so much to balance work with life, but more so to just balance life.
In the 10 minute TED Talk “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work”, Author and speaker Nigel Marsh explores the “work-life balance” debate after attempting to find balance of his own. He examined his life as a corporate employee, husband, and father of four. Marsh then spent years studying and writing about work-life balance and came up with these following four steps to achieving “work-life” balance:
- Start speaking honestly about “work-life” balance.
- You are the only one who can achieve your balance.
- Balance can’t be achieved in a single day…but you have to start somewhere.
- There is a balance to finding balance.
Marsh makes some very convincing points about achieving work-life balance, in fact I agree with all four of his steps. So, let’s look at step number one. Speaking honestly, the term “work-life balance” is a bit of a misnomer, likely coined by some corporate slave-driver who manipulated their employees into thinking they were getting some huge perk by having a whopping 50% of their existence to live. Simply put, the attempt to balance work with life assumes that half of one’s existence is about work, leaving only half for life.
I actually think the hunter and gatherers probably had it pretty well figured out. Hunting was work, but it was also enjoyable, a physical and mental competition amongst species where you got a mind and body workout. Once the kill was made, food was brought back for the family to enjoy together for an extended period of time. Every part of the animal was used for something, so there was no waste. There was great pride in this work, and it was viewed as a part of the whole that is life.
Somewhere along the way our society started playing a different recording about work and life: “grind, hustle, eat, sleep, repeat.” Now I know the majority of us don’t have the luxury of not working. I myself average a 50-60 hour work week. How to work less, while a topic that would probably gain many traffic hits, is not the point of this post. I wanted to write this for Desk Yogi, because they have truly started to shift the conversation from “work-life balance” to just “balance”. Even while at work, Desk Yogi has some great ways to incorporate balance there as well. The goal is simply to live a healthier, happier, more well-balanced life overall. We know work will always be a part of life, but just one part, alongside family, friends, exercise, spirituality, hobbies, travel, romance–whatever else makes up a truly balanced life for you.
At the end of the day, as Nigel Marsh says in step number two, YOU are the only one who can achieve YOUR life balance. Just know that work doesn’t have to be the only thing on the other side of the teeter totter.