How’s Your Work-Life Balance?

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

What are your plans for the weekend? I hope you’ll find time to relax and enjoy the special people in your life. I know, there are always things to do, and every weekend can’t be all about fun and games. I get it. As I went through my morning routine, I found myself thinking of all the things I need to do this weekend. It’s a force of habit, and the list never seems to stop growing.

Most employers these days, especially in their recruiting pitch, stress their support of a healthy work-life balance. And I believe most of them mean it, or at least they go into it with good intentions. But through it all, there’s a job to be done and that pretty much comes first. There’s a reason it’s called “work-life balance” instead of life-work balance. Work comes first. Life is what’s left.

And that’s not a slam on employers. After all, every one of us at some point in time got dressed up a little nicer, brushed our teeth, put on matching socks, and went to our employer to ask for work. We presented an image of somebody they wanted to pay to do a job that needs to be done. In fact, we probably went to great lengths to convince them nobody else could do it better.

I think most of us, from the time we’re old enough to pick up our own toys, are taught that life is about a mix of work and play, with a few other obligations thrown in for good measure. Of course, back then, play was the greater part of our day and work was something for old people.

But work is a necessary part of life – it not only pays the bills, but it’s a vital part of most everything, including our ability to enjoy life when we’re too old to work. So instead, let’s turn our focus to the other half of the equation – life.

I once saw a tee shirt with an intriguing question: “Is there life after work?” Well, sure. According to our employers, we spend less than 25% of our time each week on the job, which means we’ve got more than 3/4 of our time to do whatever we please. Of course, that doesn’t count time spent getting ready for work, commuting back and forth, and complaining about it when we get home.

Still, there’s not much we can do about that. So, back to the original question – is there life after work? Well, I guess that depends on your definition of life. And, to a large degree, it depends on the things you’re able to do with that time. If you’re stuck in the house because the gas tank is nearly empty and bill collectors are blowing up your phone, work is probably a welcome escape.

How many times have you heard somebody walk into work on a Monday and exclaim, “I needed to come back to work so I could get some rest!”? I’ve said that myself, more times than I’d care to admit. But when your time outside of work consists of working to catch up on all the things you couldn’t do during the week because you were working somewhere else, it doesn’t leave much time for life.

Worse yet, for too many people, having time to do the things they’d like to do isn’t as much of a challenge as having the means to do something enjoyable with that time. On one end of the spectrum, you have people with more money than they’ll ever need, but no time to enjoy it. The rest of us seem to find our way to the opposite end – all the time we want, but no money to enjoy it.

If we want a healthy work-life balance, we have to establish the parameters. Just as we can choose where we work, we can also choose the life we want outside of work. It’s not easy, and it takes time. But with the same determination you used to build the career that consumes 25% of your time, you can build the life that consumes the remaining 75%. Build something you can enjoy.

We’re only as busy as we choose to be, and we’re only as wealthy as we choose to be. If time or money are getting in the way of life, fix the problem. Right now, at this very moment, somebody is enjoying the life you dream of. If they can do it, so can you. It all begins with a decision. Make the choice, and then do something about it. Life awaits, my friends. Make the most of it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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