Let’s Stop Pretending Work-Life Balance is a Thing
Cinnamon Roll Enthusiast, Idaho
21 Ocotber 2017
The time has come that we put an end to a hilariously overused catch phrase. If you hadn’t read the title already I would’ve presented it here in bold letters.
So much for presentation. Anyway, let me tell you why this is one of the most ridiculous cliches out there in the business world right now. I see this phrase used every single day. And it just needs to stop. We need to kill it before it has babies and leads to something even dumber.
The idea behind this magical, hyphenated conglomerate is that somehow we can achieve a perfect harmony and balance between our responsibilities at the office and at home. Ahhh, doesn’t that sound nice?
Oh, I forgot about mentioning the gym as well. You need allot resources there and balance that time too.
And church responsibilities.
And taking care of the yard.
And the dishes.
And reading that new book you bought.
And getting your hair cut.
And that bowling party with the guys.
And taking your dog for a walk (you promised!).
I think you’ll agree with me when I say, when you’re working, you’re not spending time with family. When you’re with family, you’re not working. When you’re walking Fido, you’re not working. We can only do one thing at a time.
I work in a room in my house while my wife and baby are in the next. People would think that my “work-life balance” was just purrrfect. But there are times when I hear a cute noise from the other room and just have to go investigate. Then I end up spending an hour playing with my two month-old when I should have been working.
So much for balance, ammarite?
^ This position seems like it would be uncomfortable. But who knows, maybe this is their way to achieve work-life balance?
“Honey, I have a business call, but I’d still like to be touching your leg while you work on your laptop so that at least everything is ‘balanced’.”
I’m sure that’s the way it works.
When someone tries to sell you on an opportunity and extolls the virtues of better work-life balance, here are three things you can do instead:
1- Don’t do that thing.
2- Roll around in the mud.
3- Literally anything else.
And here’s why. It doesn’t mean anything. There, I said it. It has no meaning.
It makes me think of well-meaning, guilt-ridden Hollywood fathers that would love to play catch with their kid but just have “too much to do at work”. The movie cliche. To me, it’s a warm and fuzzy way to say, “ya know? I think I should probably spend some time with that lady who gave me my children.”
“I think you’ll agree with me when I say, when you’re working, you’re not spending time with family. When you’re with family, you’re not working.’
Here’s the Truth
Since we can only be at one place at a time, how about we shift our focus to making the most of it. Unless you’re Gary Vaynerchuck, we all only have 24 hours in a day to do our business and fit everything in (I think God gave GaryVee 26).
If you’re at home, be at home. Turn off the TV. Go outside. Do something real.
When you’re at work, chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
If you have responsibilities to your church congregation, do them to the best of your ability.
There will be times in life that “balance” simply cannot be achieved. When you’re a new parent and money is tight, you may have to work a second job. This is perfectly fine. You’ll have less time with family, but your job to provide for them takes priority in that moment.
And that’s what it’s all about, not the mythical standard of “balance”. Not the optimum amount of time and resources to each aspect of your life. Not some calculation.
It’s just about Priorities.
And it’s time we all realize that.