Reflection: It’s been 20 or 30 years since we first started talking about work-life balance. The main challenge in the early days seemed to be that work ate up an inordinate share of our time and energy – squeezing out space for life’s other jobs and joys.
Over the years, the way we talk about this issue has changed. We’ve gone from balance as a distant objective, to flex as a decent workaround, to harmony as a desirable possibility, to integration as a reasonable compromise, to flow as a utopian ideal.
Although the language has changed, so has the culture and the technology. Expectations continue to grow, techno tools multiply, and multitasking runs rampant. The core challenge remains. There’s still not enough of US (that’s ME and YOU) to go around.
Here’s what I have noticed. We’ve become very good at injecting work tasks into what we previously referred to as ‘off-hours or down-time’. We check email while we tend the stir-fry. We fire off a text while keeping half an eye on the TV or the kids.
We’ve become better at wedging personal needs into our ‘working hours’. We take a mid-day break to ferry a parent to a doctor’s appointment. We leave work early to catch a youngster’s soccer game.
Sadly, we still fall short when it comes to working our own needs for R & R (relief and renewal) into the equation.
Action: Whether you pursue balance, flex, harmony, integration or flow, here are three strategies that are essential to sustaining yourself along the way. Read More…