The Work-Life Balance

If I were writing this post exclusively about myself I would have to title it the work-life imbalance. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while I’m sure you’ve noticed my posts haven’t been as regular as they used to be. Why is this? Well the reality here is that my work-life balance has fallen way off the deep end into the work. I don’t like this and I’m taking some steps to correct this. But the idea of this post came to me a few days ago in that when the work-life balance becomes completely imbalanced you start loosing the flavor of life and replace it with stress.

If you concentrate on work for say 70,80, or even 90 hours a week like some people do you might make a small fortune because you’re probably quite successful at what you do. Unfortunately you won’t have time for anything other than work! You live, eat, sleep and breath work. Now don’t get me wrong there are times when something like this is important and you need to do it but this should be the exception rather than the norm.

My definition of the work-life balance is pretty simple it’s the balance between the amount of time you spend on making money working and everything else in your life. You need time to enjoy and spend time with your friends and loved ones as well as time on things like hobbies and yourself. When you don’t do anything other than work you don’t have time to stay current with your hobbies and activities and you begin to resent the fact that you can’t do anything about it (at least I do).

Our lives are complex things that force us and push us into all sorts of different roles and if any one of them starts to monopolize out time we intrinsically know that something is off. Personally I’ve gotten to this point and I don’t like being here; it’s starting to impact all my other roles along with the role that’s taking most of my time. Its starting to feel like I’m spinning my wheels but not getting anywhere which is nothing but a recipe for insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is how I’ve heard insanity defined.

Since this is a personal finance blog I also wanted to tie this post into the cost impact and although a work-life imbalance doesn’t look like it would have too much of a financial impact it does. You become stressed and for as much as we’d all like to deny it the moment we’re stressed we end up spending more money in general. We look for shortcuts and ways to relieve this stress and bring balance back.

[tags]work,work-life balance, stress[/tags]

2 thoughts on “The Work-Life Balance”

  1. Matt,

    It sounds like you not only understand work life balance, but that it changes over time, depending on external and internal factors, particularly at the different phases in your life. It isnt constant. It sometimes swings like a pendulum.

    You’ve also realized that its deeply personal you have the chance to define it for yourself, and you should.

    For me, I went from being a workaholic or prisoner of success in my career with little time for my private my life, living in a constantly exhausted state and feeling overburdened at work and at home to feeling guilty about never being able to recapture the time I’d sacrificed to get ahead.

    I then woke up and chose to integrate my life. I created a lifestyle choose a life that is balanced one that I actually wanted.

    The goal for me was to create a lifestyle that didn’t require all of my energy and effort to maintain that balance.

  2. Work-Life Balance should be about CONTROL. When you have balance, you really have control to manager the work demands and life demands.

    David’s right, work-life balance is very personal. Since it could look different for everyone, companies that implement typical flexible work arrangements don’t really solve for th real issues and don’t reap the benefits. Flexible work arrangements like telecommuting, summer hours, reduced hours, etc, only work to segment and differentiate employees further.

    The only real, all encompassing program I’ve heard about is called ROWE: Results-Only Work Environment. It’s been implemented by CultureRx at Best Buy with much success. In a ROWE, people have complete autonomy to do whatever, whenever as long as the work gets done. Employees can be successful at work and at life.

    Matt, you’re also right in pointing out that work-life balance has financial implications: both for the employees and for the company. Companies, like Best Buy, that have implemented successful programs see a large increase in productivity, a decrease in turnover, improved processes, elimination of waste, fewer stress-related health claims, etc.

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