Miranda Daniloff, a very talented writer friend of mine, has a very clever blog called BeyondWorkLifeBalance. Miranda shares her thoughts with us in this post on re-framing the work-life conversation. If you enjoy this article, read her other posts at:
Thanx Miranda for your contribution!
As a job changer or career re-inventor you may be looking for work to fit with your life. Maybe you are seeking new revenue streams so you can fit in non-work priorities. Those might include caring for aging parents, children or running that marathon. We tend to define work-life balance as equalization of a constrained resource: time. But thinking integration rather than balance may ease the constraint. Re-framing the work-life balance conversation may open up new opportunities.
For some, creating that balance means drawing a line in the sand: this is work and this is life and there is no overlap. Until we can add additional hours to our 24-hour day, thinking about what from work can be applied to other areas of your life and what what from life can be applied to work may actually ease the balance tightrope.
When I was doing an MBA, working full time with children under the age of ten, it was less stressful to think of my work and my life as complementary.
When I was in class I thought of it as vacation from work and my much-loved family. Three hours just for me. I thought of my work life as an extension of class. The subjects of class projects when I had a choice, were always on something at work I needed to get done. My boss loved this. And often he gave me time to complete the assignments during work time. In class, my work experience enriched my learning. I was able to bring real-life examples to the discussion.
There are lots of other ways to do this. I used excel spreadsheets and project management skills to manage a household renovation. I tap into my mommy and marital “listening” techniques when dealing with work colleagues. I outsource my leaf raking and my household spring cleaning. My skills dealing with sibling spats over Spongebob Squarepants vs. ESPN has helped me navigate disagreements over annual budgets.
Life is full. Work is full. We can’t invent an additional 6 hours in every day. However, viewing life and work as mutually enhancing rather completely separate may ease a bit of the stress.