HR Management & Compliance

Work/Life Balance: Desirable Ideal or Dangerous Distraction?

Do we really need to separate life from work? Or are we just not keen enough to ask for so much “life” in our work that we do not have to worry about balancing something out?

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Currently, the work/life balance mantra states: our lives shall not be ruled by our jobs and work and life shall coexist harmoniously in equal measure—one should not interfere with the other. This mantra exists for several reasons: we do not want to end up being workaholics; we want to have time for our families and friends; and we want to make sure that we enjoy both without being stressed. But, is balancing really the best way to get there?

Finding a balance means that we should not have too much of something. It invokes the idea that too much is bad and that there is such a thing as “enough.” But, do we really have a limited amount of time and energy available that we need to separate or balance? Or, is there something else that we could choose? “Too much” can only become a burden if we are doing things we don’t want to do. Instead of looking for a work/life balance, we could look at our work and our life and find out what part of each is joyful and exciting and what parts are less pleasant.

The more you add exciting and joyful tasks to your work, the less you will require a balance. Nobody complains about things they truly enjoy doing. Nobody would ever complain about an employee, a colleague, or family member for being too excited and joyful. It is clear that there will always be a necessary something that is not as joyful as it should be—expecting joy only would turn into frustration. It is the amount of joyful and exciting moments that make both work and life easier and more enjoyable. If those joyful and exciting moments prevail, we won’t notice the rest, and we will be motivated enough to get through it.

Here are some tools you can use to start adding those joyful and exciting moments to your life that will allow you to avoid creating separation between your work and life.

Creation Has No Limits

Work and life have something basic in common: creation. Creation is something that has no schedule. We cannot turn it on in the office and turn it off when we leave. We cannot stop it during birthday parties or put it on hold until next Monday. Creation is that moment where we suddenly have a brilliant idea, the “download” of a missing link, the “ah-ha” moment we were waiting for. The only problem is that we cannot control when it happens. Having a work/life balance in place that suggests that you turn off your phone and “disconnect” from work to “relax” even makes it worse. Brilliant ideas mostly arrive when we are relaxed; when we turn off our heads and allow ourselves to step back. What then? We get stressed again because we should be relaxing instead of working. We start feeling uncomfortable and stressed and all our balance is gone. Removing those limits allows us to choose when a choice is required and to know when things need to be done.

Get Out of Self-Judgement

On the other end of a work/life balance, we face similar situations: constantly being late for family dinner, disappointing our friends for canceling drinks, and constantly feeling negative for prioritizing work over “private time.” No matter what balance you have in place, these situations occur and will never follow your “work/life balance” schedule. Stop judging yourself for not having a balance in place.

Allowance and Flexibility

Allow yourself to choose the priorities you desire in your life—situation by situation. Life is way too complicated to make a long-term plan. It is a case-by-case decision that you have to make as soon as a situation shows up. Not having a plan and knowing you can decide spontaneously is the secret to your personal balance. It allows you to deal with any situation at any time. Allow yourself to be flexible and create space for those moments to occur. It does not take long to take a note or make a short call. But it releases your stress level incredibly, if you know you could if you had to. Of course, that does not mean you have to do it. Allow it to occur and you will have less stress in both life and work.

Dr. David Kubes is an international lawyer specializing in aviation law, finance, and project management. In 2006 he opened his own boutique law firm Kubes Passeyrer Attorneys at Law. A savvy entrepreneur, he owns several companies, including an import-export company in Cuba, an art gallery in Vienna, and his own real estate development company in Vienna. Kubes is fluent in German, English, Spanish, and French and is an avid world traveler. He is a European-licensed coach and alternative dispute resolution practitioner and heads an international coaching and consulting company. He is a certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs, including Wealth Creators Anonymous. Follow David.

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