There’s No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance!

Steve Gordon, Jr.A constant buzz-word/catchphrase in the professional & career self-help realm is, “work-life balance.” Huh? If we break that phrase down, it’s a bit confusing as to why “work” comes before “life” in that coupling.

Life is the bigger stage, on which work is just a player. By any reckoning, it’s no far stretch to understand that work is simply a part of life. It may seem as if it dominates our daily clock, but even breaking the time down still can’t give the nod to work as something to find balance against.

Let’s talk practical application of time spent; working (8) hours leaves a net of (16) on the “balance” sheet. Very few of us get a full complement of the recommended daily dose of sleep, so we’ll notch out (6) hours—on average—for nap-time. That leaves (10) hours to be deemed as “life time.” Life; for the win.

Now, organization and planning is understandable, even a necessity to getting things accomplished; life, work or otherwise. A more specific point is the silos we put things into in an effort to organize and separate the bits, pieces and moving parts. So, when did “living” get its own silo? When did the action of partaking in life get singled-out, sectioned off and put onto a scale to find its measured weight against the contents of the other silos? Living—that action word for “life”—can’t be separated. It’s not possible, literally nor figuratively. This brings us back to the balance; where is the equation that holds any merit pitting life against work?

Elaboration on this would only serve to be a re-hashing that would fail to expound upon the established fact that work is simply a small part of life. There is no balance to be found. The “weights & measures” is introduced between the things that define the type of life we want to have, and live. “Work / Family”, “Work / Play”, “Work / Physical Recreation”, “Work / Travel”; these are things that find themselves open for the discussion of balance.

Most have heard the saying, “I work to live, not live to work.” To revive that saying, work should be viewed as the bank-roll—the benefactor that is funding the life you want to live. With that in mind, and the balance equation applied, work should still fall on the lesser end of the scale. The only concession being if the desired life is to have a business that wholly consumes that life.

But most of us start businesses to have peace of mind, to be closer to the money source, even to have a more flexible schedule for self and family. So that brings us back to the fact that work can’t get a win in this arena. What sense does that discussion of balance make when there’s no such thing?

That introduces a sobering thought: If you find yourself having struggles with a work-life balance issue, you’re simply not living—which is a loss on a completely different level.

Can you relate?

BTW: Steve Gordon, Jr. will be waxing philosophical (as well as practical) on the topic of work/life balance in his session, Being a 24/7 Creative Pro, at this year’s Creative Freelancer Conference, June 23-24 in Chicago. Early bird deadline ends April 1. Details and registration here:

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