A different take on a Balanced Life

18 Jul

This article is part of the series “31 blogs in 31 days” during July 2017 on howtofab.com.

“Work-Life balance”. That phrase. The holy grail. The source of much unhappiness, especially within younger (<30 year old) people. Everybody wants it, demands it, looks for it – often without much success. Because some people are looking in the wrong place. Because Work and Life are perceived as two different, opposite, separate things. Like sun and moon – life happens when work is over. Overlap is a bad thing – checking work emails at home is bad, bad, bad behaviour, we all know that. (Of course, on the other hand, we still consider checking our Facebook at work as a basic human right….)

Work is part of life – and our life is part of our work. When we adopt a holistic approach to our life and when we welcome work as being part of that, the easier we come to terms with the fact that things are interconnected and that while we may show some character traits more at work and others more at home, we are in fact one human being. And we never are really that different at home or in the office. When we are forced to separate and isolate our needs and wants, we run into trouble.

Looking for balance is not a bad thing at all, but while many people often focus on a perceived Work vs The Rest Of Our Life dichotomy, I have found other criteria more useful.

  • New / routine: how much new input can I really take before I over-load myself? how much routine is good for me, gives me a sense of security, before I perhaps get bored and seek new ideas?
  • Active / passive: do I have enough down- (=processing) time? am I spending enough time being physically active? what’s a good amount and type of exercise for me and how can I realistically fit it into my weekly schedule?
  • Me-time / Others-time: how much time do I want and need to spend with just myself? how much time am I happy to spend with others? who are these others?
  • Lead / follow: if you are primarily one or the other, of if certain areas of your life require one more than the other – do you also have enough room and time for the other one? would you like to flip it around every now and then?
  • Home / away: are you away too often / not often enough? would you like to spend more time at home, or spend the time you have available in a different way?
  • Spending / saving: not just money. time, energy, anything you can give or keep. Are you spending your resources on the things that are important to you? are you over-spending in some and perhaps under-spending in other areas?

Instead of looking at these categories in an “either / or” way, try to see how much of each you want and need and where you are most likely to get it. If you can find balance within each major area of your life (work, relationship, family, friends, time with yourself) or if the areas create balance between each other. A holistic view of your life, where all important areas are connected with each other, will make it easier to see if the things that are important to you, as an holistic human being, are being catered for or if there is a lack or an imbalance anywhere.

The categories mentioned above are just exemplary. They work for me but perhaps other categories make more sense for you.

Picture: ejaugsburg via Pixabay / CC0

 

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