Why You Can Calm Down About Work-Life Balance

By David Hassell

There is so much hype about getting and keeping balance in our life that sometimes we get lost in the search, like the forest for the trees.  The reality is that though we need to work to make a living, we need to make sure that at the same time we’re also ‘living’.

The concern: being constantly connected is blurring the line between what is work and what is life. Is checking your emails at 6am before anything else, work? Or is it prioritizing your day? Does checking in with the boss at 2pm on a sunny Sunday mean you lack balance? Or is it your own prerogative?

Just because you haven’t managed to create the “perfect lifestyle” where you can spend 24 hours a day doing exactly what you want to do, doesn’t mean that you’re failing either.

Is Work-Life Balance A Myth?

A survey by recruitment company Randstad found that 46% of Canadian workers handle private matters during working hours. Managers needn’t worry about a loss in productivity, however: 51% of those surveyed deal with work matters outside office hours.

“For good and bad, there is a fusion going on between home and work. We don’t stop living when we go to work and, very often today, we don’t stop working when we arrive home” says Stacy Parker, Randstad Canada’s executive vice president of marketing.

Managers appear to be coming to terms with the fact that their employees tend to their social networks and phone family members during working hours. A British survey by Vodafone UK found that 63% of managers don’t mind as long as the work gets done.

You CAN’T Get It All Done

With the best intention and determination in the world, it’s impossible to do everything you want to in work and in your personal life, but serial entrepreneur Yanik Silver believes that by concentrating on the most critical 20% of tasks that produce 80% of the results, you’ll free some time up to do the things outside work that you want to, whether it’s prioritizing family or knocking things off your bucket list.

He also suggests scheduling your fun things –simply by deciding what you want to do, listing and prioritizing them it’s more likely you’ll get around to doing them.

Filters Do Just That: They Filter

With Instagram now introducing video into their app, we have yet another medium through which we can filter and present our lives to the world through the ideal-life lens, giving us another flavor with which to publish  a skewed version of reality. The reality behind all those ‘humble brags’: you’re hiding the sleepless nights, flu, and loss of motivation behind what seems like a balanced life.

Don’t compare yourself to others’ social media updates. “It’s very easy on Facebook to present to the world the person you want to appear to be. Even if 90% of that is a lie.”  You’re likely to find that an accurate curation of who we are, will make you inherently more relatable and ‘likeable’.

To conclude, we should be making the most of the valuable and finite time we have, focussing our minds on the important things, making the most of our work lives and setting time aside for fun and play, even if that life doesn’t look exactly as the filtered versions we often publish to our online personas.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t quite have that ideal work-life balance worked out yet. Who does?

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