Work/life balance articles are a dime-a-dozen now. I've written more than a few myself on this website - and I'm sure this one won't be the last one. This morning scanning Twitter I saw this Instagram photo from Jeff Shinabarger raising the question of balance. He asks:
Is balance even possible today or is all aspects of life just clustering?
Can balance be achieved?
@jonacuff eludes to this in the comments section but I think balance is the wrong way of looking at it. Balance provides the wrong impression that all the pieces of our lives - work, play, family, hobbies - are all getting equal pieces of our time or energy. That simply can't be true.
Think about it just from a pure time perspective. Assuming an eight-hour work day (an idealistic assumption for most of us I know), we spend roughly 1/3 of day working. Let's say we're getting a healthy eight hours of sleep a night. That leaves just eight hours for things that are not work or sleep.
That's eight hours to divy up between our families, our hobbies and friends. Not a lot of leftovers to go around in the grand scheme of things right? The idea that we can effectively balance the scales is a flawed notion.
If we can't balance, what do we do?
Let's take away balance and look at our lives in terms of prioritization instead. Where are we focusing our mental energies? When we're at work, we should be focusing more of ourselves into the task at hand. At home, we should be spending most of our focus at home and know when to ignore the work email notification dings.
@jonacuff uses a phrase in the photo comments that I liked: intentional imbalance. The scales will always tip in favor of something else. We just have to know when imbalance is appropriate and how to tip the scales in the right direction at the right time.
Everything Is Running Together
The illustration above describes the conundrum that technology puts us in in terms of balance. Mobile devices allow us to be accessible - and access all things - at anytime from anywhere. The intent for this type of technology is to be used as a convenience but instead becomes a potential burden. If we let it, technology can actually ruin our focus. It distracts us from our dinner table conversations, getting our work done, or enjoying the other parts of our lives that don't require a screen. It's hard to live in the moment when several other moments are sharing space in your mind vying for your attention.
What's Your Opinion?
Do we have balance? Or are all aspects of our lives jumbled up into one giant smorgasbord of things to do? Is this a bad thing or just a new thing?
What do you think: is balance even possible?