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  • Claire Warner

Life Balance or Work Life Balance

You will NEVER hear me talk about Work Life Balance (other than in telling you I don't agree with it!)


For me, the concept of work life balance doesn't work

1) it suggests that work and life deserve equal footing; and 2) it suggests that they are fairly static


The graphic below is one of my most frequently requested graphics




The pie chart on the left shows a "standard" work day, exaggerated slightly to help simplify the maths:


The section shown in pale blue represents 8 hours of work

The section shown in pink represents 8 hours of sleep

The section shown in dark blue represents 8 hours I've described as home


Even at this point, work and life are not equals. Sleep (possibly THE most important part of life) and home, even on a "work" day, are of equal footing to work - work only forms 1/3rd of that day


The middle pie chart shows what those same 3 categories look like across a full "working week" (assumed 5 working days and 2 weekend days) and here you can see, the pale blue work section is now only 23.8% which is actually less than a quarter of the week


And the pie chart on the right assumes that a person also takes 5 weeks annual leave, and therefore has 5 weeks with only "home" and "sleep". In this scenario, "work" only accounts for 21.5% of life


I know this is a very exact interpretation, and that not many people manage to run their lives in this way. But the longer we perpetuate the notion that work and life deserve equal footing and should be balanced, the longer we're deluding ourselves.


I LOVE my work. And I know that I very often to work "for fun", I do more than the hours I should and I have made a career out of doing so.


What I prefer to promote is identifying and striving for Life Balance: where first of all, we identify what the ingredients are of the life we want to live, and then we work out what quantities of each make the "perfect" balance so we know when we've added too much work one week, we are able to "balance" that out with other ingredients the next


AND that sleep is the non-negotiable. Sleep is crucial for everything else to happen. We don't prioritise sleep enough.


So, do you still want to look for a work life balance?

Or are you with me seeking life balance (where work is a really important part)?

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