There is no such thing as a work-life balance


Commuters grabbing breakfast on their way to work in Beijing
Commuters grabbing breakfast on their way to work in Beijing

There is no such thing as a work-life balance. At least not an optimum state. The perfect balance means nothing moves. And life is not like that. A balance keeps shifting according to your needs and wants. Barack Obama doesn’t have a 9 to 5 job but may still be happy with the balance. My friend who gave up work to be with her newborn son was happy too. Even if you have found the perfect balance, life may throw a spanner into the works. A family member might become ill, an exciting work project comes up, or your partner gets a job overseas. Life stages and work demands are not fixed but change over time. So the balance keeps ever changing too.

But if you are not happy with the current balance, it pays off to make changes.

Yesterday I came across a thought provoking and funny TED talk by Nigel Marsh, How to Make Work Life Balance Work. He contends “It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.”

However, he also says you don’t necessarily need to turn your whole life upside down, to make radical changes. Marsh: “ (…) the small things matter. Being more balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.” It could be being home for dinner with your family and working on your laptop afterwards rather than coming home from office at 8PM, playing sports with a friend, or drinking more water to feel more alert.

My change this year was to make my career globally portable. In order to be with my husband and young kids ánd being able to work regardless of location.

What change will you make?


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