Is the “Work-Life Balance” Overrated?

work life balance

In our society, we’re expected to prioritize work and leisure and give them both the same amount of attention. Today, however, the balance has shifted and no longer is evenly split between the two. There’s an expectation for employees to put work first and be ready to answer phone calls or emails and work on projects whenever. Millennials make up the majority of the workforce today and they prioritize leisure over work, so is the work-life balance truly overrated? Is there such thing as the perfect balance?

Always On?

A recent study by the O.C. Tanner Institute found 71 percent of Americans in the workforce believe the ideal employee isn’t always available. This goes against what’s become the norm in the workplace today. Employees are “always on” and work is never left at the office. It’s constantly in the palm of our hands. So why do so many individuals feel like this isn’t the way it’s meant to be but accept it?

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Technology’s made it impossible to separate work and personal life. We’re easily accessible to anyone at anytime, anywhere. This means valuable family time can be cut into at any second by those pesky little clients who want your attention every minute of the day. This supports the notion that work has become the top priority in our lives.

Equal or Balanced?

Balanced doesn’t always mean equal. Sometimes work needs more attention than your personal life, and sometimes life gets in the way and we have to put that first. We must be able to sift through the mess and know when work needs to come first and when personal life needs to come first. It doesn’t make you a bad person bringing work home or taking a sick day. It makes you human. And at times, things will overlap.

There is no work-life balance. Other aspects of life slip through the cracks. Decide what is most important and what you can get rid of in order to fit all the important aspects of your life. Maybe checking emails right before bed isn’t as important as tucking the kids into bed. Or spending Sunday afternoon working on personal needs and interests is more important than getting ahead on the work week. Find your true balance, not your work-life balance, and you will see yourself becoming happier.

Employees are realizing achieving physical well-being helps them become more productive and keeps them sane. The way to get to this is through finding your true balance, not a work-life balance. Many companies are allowing their employees to work as they please, sometimes staying later in order to run a few errands and get a break during the work day. This benefits people’s mental and emotional well-being.

True Balance Can BE Difficult But  It’s Worth The Effort

We shouldn’t be planning out every minute of our lives, but instead plan accordingly to our energy. If you’re beginning to feel drained, go do something for yourself, or even take a sick day. Burning yourself out does nothing to benefit you, the company, or your family. Let other people help you. Delegate household chores to your spouse or kids. The few minutes throughout the day that don’t get planned out aren’t a waste. They let you get back to focus so you can get all your work done or spend more time doing the things you enjoy.

Trying to balance solely between work and personal life makes life a little more difficult. You are constantly stressing about being perfect in everything and not letting yourself enjoy every day. Complete tasks to the best of your ability and then let them go. Don’t stress over the little things and know you will never be perfect at everything.

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You can’t control everything in life, but you can control your happiness. Letting go of the notion of a work-life balance and finding your true balance will help you find the happiness in your life you want.


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Linda Gimmeson

Linda Gimmeson is a Career Coach that is passionate about helping others identify their strengths and pursue their dreams. Follow her @LindaGimmeson on Twitter for more career advice.

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