David A Gammon, Sixth Sense
Wednesday 2nd November 2022
In the aftermath of the pandemic, work/life balance, mass resignation, and quiet quitting are hot topics for debate.
Unfortunately, most of what’s being discussed missed the sheer complexity involved and is anything but ‘balanced’ (no one seems to complain that work/life balance is too skewed in favour of their life).
In fact, it seems that work is always the culprit.
Achieving balance is a complex trade-off between multiple elements of life, only one of which is work.
I’ve had these debates many times, and it’s complicated. We are not comparing apples and apples in any of these discussions. For example, how do you decide between earning more money to secure the family’s prosperity or a trip to the gym to secure a longer life and more energy?
There is no work/life balance. The debate is about what a meaningful life looks like… and competence, commitment and achievement at work are essential parts of this.
Performance at work matters to your sense of well-being and confidence, as well as your ability to achieve a level of financial security and fund other choices for yourself and your family
Work often gets blamed for failures in other areas of life domains. It’s a misdiagnosis.
In a forty-five-hour working week (more than enough to get your work done when you have yourself properly together) with seven hours of sleep daily, you are still left with seventy-four hours to do other things. That’s plenty, even before you factor in annual leave and public holidays.
As a business leadership coach, I worked hard to contain the scope of my work to matters of business and career. However, it didn’t take long to figure out that an enhanced experience of work had a profound impact on different domains of life and vice versa.
So before you prescribe less work as the cure to the problem, why not ask yourself these basic but challenging questions:
- Do I have a solid, well-articulated and motivating plan for my life?
- Do I make meaningful use of my free time?
- Am I free of serious health problems and keeping myself in shape?
- Am I educated (or actively engaged in education) that matches my aspirations and ability?
- Do I have a group of good friends and a healthy social life
- How are my closest familial relationships?
- Is my career/business stable (or on the way to stable) and enabling financial stability?
Hard work, applying yourself, assuming responsibility and taking on new skills/knowledge raises your reputation with yourself and others. This creates an updraft that has the potential to elevate all domains of your life.
So next time you think about work-life balance, consider where the problem lies, so you don’t end up worse off than where you started.