People use the phrase “work-life balance” often, and it’s even become a selling point for companies who want to attract new talent. In this way, the elusive “work-life balance” has in a sense become a benefit of employment, much in the same way that health insurance or vacation days are benefits. But how do you define this phrase, and more importantly, how do you REALLY achieve it?
From our perspective, work-life balance is a moving target, something that cannot be given one definition. We think that it looks different for every person – the difficult part is deciding what it looks like for yourself, and then implementing activities and habits to achieve your own personal balance. This is why it is difficult to quantify, and even more difficult to compare. There are so many variables at play, and below are just a few examples of work-life balance.
Example A: “The Work-IS-Life Balance”
These are often entrepreneurs who are energetic, full of ideas, and LOVE what they do. Perhaps they have grown a business to the point where it “runs itself.” Perhaps they have sold a business and are working on their next venture. Either way, they really like working, and sometimes, they have several businesses that they are working on (and in), and because they love what they do so much, they end up spending the majority of their time working. For them, however, a lot of this work is enjoyable and thus considered free-time activities.
Example B: “Work Hard, Play Hard”
This person works a lot, and is always on top of their work. They probably at least like what they do, if not love it, and so they don’t mind spending an above average amount of time at work. However, when they do take time for themselves, they make it count. They may go on adventurous vacations where they completely disconnect and immerse themselves in their activities or perhaps they prefer a more relaxing island getaway – either way, they achieve work-life balance by trying to fully immerse themselves in what they are doing, whether it is work or play.
Example C: “Treat Yourself”
When this person leaves work, they leave it completely. They do not believe in overworking and spend a good amount of time on self-care and family activities. They believe that there are more important things to life than working and making money, and they prefer to spend their time on those things. They will not be found in the office on the weekends or evenings, unless it’s required.
Example D: “Balancing Act”
This person works a lot and always seems frazzled. They try to make time for family and friends, but this ends up stressing them out even more because they feel like they’ve neglected their to-do list. They just can’t seem to catch up. One of the main problems this person faces is not balance, per-se, but time management. Perhaps if they could learn how to manage their schedule a bit better and use their time more wisely, their work-life balance would be more harmonious and they wouldn’t feel so frazzled.
These are just a few archetypes that we’ve noticed over the years. What does your work-life balance look like?