10 Easier Alternatives to Work Life Balance

Worklife balance
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To create the job you love without quitting, it’s important to weave together your personal life and professional life.

Most people talk about this as achieving work-life balance or learning to compartmentalize, but I don’t like either very much.
  • Work-life balancing is stressful and too much work.  Once life is balanced there’s always another fire drill at work or a change at home like a sick child that throws everything out of balance again.
  • Compartmentalizing work and your personal life creates far too many identities to keep up with and doesn’t feel very authentic.

It’s far more helpful to consider integrating your professional and personal life. 

When I discovered this approach I found a lot more:

  • Authenticity – Showing up differently at the office than who you really are can feel like you’re selling your soul to the devil.  When you bring the real you to the office it feels much more authentic.  I discovered incredible benefits when I brought the gentle Ben that interacts with his baby, plus the confident Ben that smashes a forehand on the tennis court, and the relaxed Ben from Yoga class; all to the office.
  • Momentum – You establish a lot of momentum when you bring all the aspects of your personality to work.  I felt a lot less tired at the end of the work week. 
  • Ease – Its easier to show up when you’re not keeping the best part of you on the sidelines like sense of humor, your caring side, your direct communication style, etc…Tackling difficult conversations and challenges at work, all become much easier to deal with and overcome.

In this podcast, I’m covering the big lie about work-life balance, why compartmentalizing kills your work mojo and then 10 alternatives to work-life balance:

  1. Risk a different conversation at work and at home.  Ask about your coworkers weekends, families, and vacations. Go beyond the “fine” in describing how your work day went to your family.
  2. Recognize the best time for you to work on certain activities regardless if personal of business.  Consider taking care of personal business during your work day especially if you’re on email working after hours anyway.
  3. Clarify expectations for working at home on nights and weekends with the family as well as you boss to reduce the friction.
  4. Evaluate the different sides of you that you may be keeping from the office and your home
  5. Take your body somewhere else when you get stuck.  Move your office or your meeting temporarily to a different location.
  6. Schedule a customer or supplier meeting with a trainer.  Instead of scheduling a big meal for next meeting try doing something fun and active.
  7. Have a meeting with a coworker on a treadmill or take a walk  outside (Steve Jobs Style).  According to his biography, Jobs closed some of his biggest deals and made his most celebrated hires while taking walks around Palo Alto.
  8. Establish a “work win” board at home so the entire family can celebrate wins from work and school.
  9. Take your personal pictures to work.  Go beyond your family and friends and share your vacation.
  10. Give your family members a sound byte about what you do at work so they feel comfortable describing it to their friends.  Ask for one from them so you can share it at work.

So what’s your story of dealing with work-life balance? Please share in the comments.

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