5 Ways The Work-Life Balance Myth Can Negatively Affect Your Life
Is the work-life balance myth negatively affecting your life? Work-life balance sounds like a good combination. Right? Maintaining a good work-life balance should result in a happy life. Right?
To assume that maintaining a good work-life balance is beneficial, you would have to assume workspace and living space are opposites of each other. Therefore they would benefit from balance.
You would have to also assume work is not life and you do not enjoy work and life outside of work is life and something you love.
This would lead to the belief that limiting the time at work, the place you do not enjoy so that it does not interfere with life, you do enjoy, is a great strategy. Is this what work-life balance means to you?
I’m not totally buying it. Not for a minute. LOL
This is where the work-life balance myth begins to fall apart for me. Work is not always something you hate and life outside of work is not always enjoyable.
There are times work is life and is completely enjoyable. I admit that is not usually the case so we will not consider that possibility just to be fair.
If given the choice to affect work-life balance or affect your life’s purpose, priorities, and goals what would you choose? Where would you spend that energy?
Why try to control the work-life balance myth? Achieving balance in life is great but there is sooooooo much more. Let’s look at controlling your purpose, priorities, goals, and your contribution to your world.
Here are 5 ways I believe the work and life balance myth can negatively affect your life.
Some People Actually Like Their Work and Life
A study shows that 13% of people worldwide actually like the work they do. If you are one of the lucky 13% why limit the work you enjoy?
I am sure it’s not suggested that you limit joy at work to balance the lack of joy you have in life and vice versa.
We all know life is unpredictable and can be a wild ride. I believe you are happiest when you can control the ride and make it more predictable. The pendulum of life swings from good to bad, happy, sad, and back again.
The best we can hope for enjoying a happy medium. I guess that is some sort of balance.
Once you accept EVERYTHING is temporary will be closer to living a happier life. Good times along with bad times are temporary. I must say that again. Good times along with bad times are temporary!
Enjoy them both. You read that correctly. Enjoy them both!
Enjoy the bad times because you know they will end soon. Also, enjoy the good times as much as possible for the same reason, you know they will end soon. Balance is baked in the cake.
Understand and prepare for the storms to be most happy.
Trying to achieve and measure work-life balance in a real-life environment can make you feel like a failure. You win some and you lose some. Work and life can become cloudy and morph into one and the same.
It Adds Unnecessary Stress To Your Life
Pursuing the work and life-balance myth is a recipe for failure. There are times at work you need to put in extra time. You may even enjoy the extra time you need to spend at work but feel guilty that you are not maintaining a work-life balance.
These are the times trying to maintain the work-life balance myth can be stressful.
Doing so can be more stressful when your home life is not enjoyable. You may have a nagging or taskmaster partner waiting at home for you. Sometimes work is less stressful than home.
I have seen parents prefer working to home life. I even prefer working a few extra minutes (or hours) longer to going home to five kids. I have seen you, you know who you are. LOL.
Also constantly working to keep a mental record of work and life as separate measurements and participation levels can be exhausting. Hell, just saying it is exhausting. LOL.
Why add this unnecessary stress to your daily existence with no gain? Don’t be a robot. Be conscious and live.
Can Make You Complacent
Trying to maintain the work-life balance myth can also make you complacent. The work-life balance is such a low bar to achieve. All you have to do is exist and not even live to attain that goal.
You can even break the day into 8-hour chunks and equally divide them into work, sleep and life.
Living to just maintain the status quo. Work and not achieve excellence. Live and not achieve happiness in the name of maintaining a work-life balance. This can lead to a false sense of security and success.
Working to maintain a work-life balance may look good on a chart or graph but it’s not living. You are living to greet the morning, noon, and night, morning, noon, and night, morning, noon, and night, morning, noon, and night.
What a boring life. Is that you?
Takes Time Away From The Essential
There is no balancing the essentials of life. The essential is needed and should always be sought. For me, as a living simple minimalist, the essentials of life are all I look to achieve.
Everything else is not needed, is unnecessary, and is optional. Trying to maintain the work-life balance myth runs counter to that.
Sometimes the essentials require more than work-life balance can allow. You should never abandon the essentials whenever possible. This can lead to stress and physiological damage (in my opinion).
Times when you elect to not see your child in a play, miss their sports activity or choose not to help an elderly parent in the name of work. That can’t be good for combating your mental stability and combating stress.
These are events you never forget. You silently carry them to your grave.
I spent a lot of time working at one time. When I look back liked all of my jobs but I regret the extra time I spent at work. it was all voluntary and I enjoyed it at the time but I still regret it. I wish I spent much more time on the essentials of life.
Situations are always changing at work. You or your boss get a promotion. The business gets bought or sold. All of your extra time may be erased and you are now equal to your worst co-worker. Ewwwww!
An Amazing Life is Better Than Work-Life Balance Myth
I often talk about the 168 hours everyone has in a week to make life happen. When designing a game plan on how to live those hours to the fullest, the notion of balance is never considered part of the plan.
You wish to make them all great but you know that is unlikely. Then the natural focus for me becomes priorities and goals.
When you fail to achieve what is commonly viewed as the work-life balance you feel like a failure. But failing at something that is not real is not failing. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru (the no-win scenario) cadet training exercise in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
The work-life balance myth is a strategy you can’t win and is something that may not be beneficial to achieve if you could. Forget about that life-limiting work-life balance myth, live your priorities and goals.
Work hard to achieve them and everything else should fall into place.
There is no balance there. Just live life and rock and roll with the punches. It’s more fun that way. Plan, work hard and achieve what is possible when it is possible. Take advantage of luck. Do you know the definition of luck? Don’t you? Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
No work-life balance is needed. When you are prepared for anything all you need is an opportunity to lift its sexy head.
Stay focused on your priorities and goals. Use the acronym F.O.C.U.S for motivation. Follow One Course Until Success! Don’t allow the pursuit of the work-life balance myth to bring confusion and sadness to your wonderful life. Enjoy.
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Hi Tony. Really liked the article. Trying to balance work and play time is often difficult when you work from home. So many distractions! So many reasons to leave your laptop! I try to treat my week like a work week. I’m “on the clock” til 5pm. Then I’m “off the clock” til the next day. It’s not an easy balance though. Alanna
I personally believes in “work now play later”. I don’t care if I work extra now for as long as I get to retire early. I don’t want to be working on my 60s were I can stay at home and take care of my grand kids. For me the work – life balance is for people who wants to work 4 days a week or less hours a day. People who only cares about their weekends but not years ahead of their future.
But that is only my opinion.
I agree Von and thanks for your comments. The work life balance strategy is too restrictive. Like I stated earlier working your priorities and goals is more fitting. Work life balance may also give a false sense of security.