The concept of work-life balance has long been considered obsolete. All the more so in our post-Covid world, where work and home lives are more blended than ever.
New models have been suggested to update the term. But I haven’t yet found a convincing alternative to capture the distinction between the time people spend doing paid or unpaid “work”, and the time they devote to the things and people they love. Indeed, often these things are interchangeable so defining them in a neat catch-phrase is problematic.
Nevertheless, the importance of distinguishing between these aspects of life still stands, and since starting my blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that understanding the roots of an individual’s work values can help make sense of one’s work-life balance choices. Doing so, I think can help foster greater acceptance and compassion – of oneself and others.
So, in the absence of a more accurate turn of phrase, I’m sticking to that expression for now, recognising that it is somewhat dated and flawed. And I’ve set out to use my blog to regularly feature “work-life balance profiles”, exploring the personal history behind work-life balance choices, one story at a time.
Individually these stories may not be remarkable – I am not setting out to interview the most celebrated or accomplished people in the world (though many surely will have done outstanding things throughout their lives). But my aim is to showcase and celebrate the variety of work-life balance ratios by giving voice to, and seeking to understand, individuals’ motivations. In the short time I’ve been writing on this subject, I’ve found such insight to be enlightening and inspiring, and encouraging of self-reflection too.
A few people I know have kindly volunteered to be my guinea pigs and have generously allowed me to interview them over the course of the summer. I begin each interview by asking the person to put a self-perceived figure on their current work-life balance ratio, and whether they aspire for it to be any different. Of course, quantifying something this multi-faceted isn’t a science. But the early insights that have surfaced have been intriguing and have spurred me on to continue profiling a wide range of people from across the working spectrum. It will be interesting to see if any patterns emerge.
More to follow…