Dr. Bill Howatt from Howatt HR in Episode 11 of the Maintaining Mental Fitness Series Season 2, says we can do things with intention so we can determine how we view the world.  One of the things we can do with intention is blend the demands of home and work rather than try to create an equilibrium or work-life balance.

Work-life balance is kind of an oxymoron as it indicates we can find balance but rarely can we put life on an equal scale to our work.  Rather we need to make choices to create positive emotions, because things can pull us in the other direction where we experience negative emotions, so finding work-life balance may be an unachievable expectation.

Work-life Balance

Why trying to create a “work-life balance” may result in a feeling of failing

People can become very tired by trying to figure where the balance is between work and life.  Or while on the farm, work is life and life is work, and it needs to be blended and an exercise in balance would be futile.

So how can we reframe this to look a bit differently but make it into work-life BLENDING rather than work-life balance.

We need to start focusing on priorities.  Fear can be the driver for where our focus is moved based on the perceived responsibilities and focusing on the fear, knowing there are consequences to work-life blending, can be inhibitive of the exercise.  Work does not define our happiness. We don’t have to be on autopilot and we don’t have to be perfect.  We are making the decisions not the environment. 

Work-life balance is about making conscious choices

Set Your Limits

How do you unplug from work to be with family? 

What does off hours look like?  If you are always checking your phone or e-mail every 15 minutes or going out to the barn to double check on something, this isn’t blending or setting a limit.

Notify people impacted by your decisions

  • If your work-life balance decision is going to impact someone, keep the lines of communication and trust open by notifying them, rather than having them wait or wonder where you are.

Ask for feedback

  • One way to keep yourself honest is to ask people how you’re doing in meeting your responsibilities and whether there are any concerns.  It can be easy to blame work, but often we are the ones who decide to bring work home.

We are not built to work at a high capacity of 110% all of the time; 90% at best to be able to charge our batteries.  Some of us have higher capacity than others but do not be judgmental of other work ethics or how others set their limits.