Friday, June 21, 2019

Insight: The hubbub of work-life balance

By Lorraine Glowczak

The path was muddy after the rainstorm which made peddling the tandem bike difficult. But that mud-covered trail wasn’t the most problematic – it was the fact that the bicycle built for two was actually a bike built for about 20 of us. I was doing everything I could, steering the whole group and keep us moving forward. I began to lose balance, tipping the bike over, but I woke up from the dream before we all fell to the ground.

It was the third dream I had that week where I was attempting to ride a bike – but always losing my balance just prior to waking up. After the third dream it was beginning to dawn on me that perhaps I wasn’t doing so well at balancing the work/play dynamic.

Obviously, I’m not the only one who tries to find their equilibrium in this somewhat busy adventure we call life. It seems to be such an issue these days that the term “work-life balance” is a too often used buzzword. I, for one, feel more overwhelmed by the expectation to live a “balanced” life more the fact that I happily go about my daily living – which is often out of balance.

According to an online Forbes magazine article, entitled, “Work-Life Balance: Is It Real, Or Is It Simply Buzz?” Dawn Ferguson, an entrepreneur had this to say:

It's not a balance, it's a measurement of priority: “The thought of ‘work-life balance’ is a phrase that is different to each and every individual. Being that no two people consider the balance of each to be the same, each must measure what priorities for work and life stand out the most. Dividing time appropriately to one's needs, instead of to a balancing scale, is more realistic.”

Another entrepreneur stated that ‘Balance Doesn't Mean Equal’. “The two [words] aren't equal and rarely will be. Sometimes work is the No. 1, and life takes a back seat. That isn't unreasonable or unexpected, as long as you are aware of and planning for it. Don't allow work to take over if it isn't truly necessary.”

In another article written by Jessica Lutz, the author suggests that balance isn’t quite the right word we are looking for to maintain a certain level of management in a life that organically proceeds as it sees fits.

Balance isn’t the right word. Some [have] suggested alternative ideas: work-life integration, work-life harmony, and work-life blend. Rather than trying to balance all things all the time, it’s something much more fluid. Some weeks you feel like you’re present in all areas of your life, and other weeks you feel pulled strongly in one direction. Eventually, things level out before it begins again. The idea of balance is an unattainable standard that results in an almost constant feeling of failure.

So, if you also find yourself overwhelmed by the hubbub of “work-life balance” – may my own little discovery help you and free you to live life in your own way. And on a day you feel particularly stressed, go on a bike ride with me. You might want to bring your own bike, however. Tandem biking doesn’t seem to be my thing.

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