Image by Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline, found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
You know that work-life balance that has been the goal of so many, for so long? A number of people I've been reading lately suggest we use another term that more accurately captures our reality. Here are some people's thoughts on why work-life balance doesn't work — along with some candidates for a replacement term.
1. Work-Life Harmony
Darius "Bubs" Monsef is a startup founder and CEO. He's also a husband and a father. He writes:
How I choose to run my life is to strive not for balance, but for harmony. I embrace that my personal and work lives coexist in the same 24 hours of each day. My founder brain doesn’t shut off and neither does my personal brain.
2. Work-Life Blend or Work-Life Integration
Ron Ashkenas has spent 30 years in consulting. He writes:
The reality for many of us these days is that our professional lives bleed into our personal lives. The boundaries are increasingly permeable and movable. ...Credit: I found this article via Julie-Ann Burkhart.
Maybe we need to accept the fact that the sharp demarcation between work and home is a thing of the past, and that the new normal is a life that integrates home and work more seamlessly. ...
We can stop feeling guilty about ... checking our emails at night; and by the same token not feel guilty about talking with our spouses, friends, and family members during work time.
3. No alternative term, but not work-life balance!
Erin Doland is editor-in-chief of Unclutterer.com and the author of the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week; she's also a wife and a mom. Here's her take:
Whenever someone asks me if I have “work-life balance,” it makes my skin crawl. My work is an essential component of who I am. There isn’t a work me and a personal me. I’m just me, all the time. When I’m at work I often think of non-work stuff, and when I’m not at work I often think of work. I don’t have a work/non-work switch.
4. Just "Life"
This one comes in graphic form from Venkatesh Rao (or Venkat), and it's wonderful. The image is used with permission.
I was drawn to these writings (and drawings) because they capture how I feel about my own life, where the idea of having firm boundaries between "work" and "rest of my life" disappeared long ago. But what's right for me and the people I've quoted isn't necessarily right for everyone. I'm curious about you; how do you feel about this issue of work-life balance? Let me know through email or by adding a comment!