There is no such thing as work-life balance, it’s all life. It’s questionable whether we have ever been able to completely separate our work lives from our non-work lives.
Yet the rapid arrival of 24/7 mobile technologies has meant the line between these two parts of our lives is fuzzier than ever. This fuzziness is further magnified by flexible work arrangements, part-time employment and working from home.
Career advisors and health professionals are quick to remind us that we spend at least a third of our lives at work. For most, this is a gross underestimation of the time devoted to work.
This is especially true for people in leadership positions whose work day is extended by the needs of individual staff members and the subsequent rumination as the leader reflects on what went well and what went wrong.
Add to this time checking emails, taking work home and preparing for the next day and the one-third stretches well beyond fifty per cent.
Which begs the question, why do we continue to talk about a balance between work and life?
In an ideal world, we would all be working in roles we find enriching, fulfilling and financially rewarding so that our work is our life and there would be no need for balance.
However, the reality for many is that they suffer through the drudgery of work and life only begins when their work shift ends.
Even so, people in this situation can often be heard talking about work, or complaining about some aspect of their work once they get home. Their work has invaded their home life anyway.
One potential remedy for this dilemma is a change of mindset.
Regardless of the actual situation, try out a new mindset that has you working for your current employer voluntarily.
This mindset of choice, where you can say 'I am choosing to be at work today and to work for this employer', can help relieve the feeling of being trapped at work. It also eases the transition to the non-work life where, hopefully, you are doing something by choice.
One more small step in the next 24 hours
Remove the expression work-life balance from your conversations. Adopt a mindset that says both your work and your non-work activities are part of the one life and both contain substantial elements which you choose to do voluntarily.