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Work Life Balance

Catherine's picture

I am pondering on work-life balance, prompted by a friend's question on Facebook. Here I am just back from a skiing holiday and about to go to my weekly art class so possibly I have the balance tipped in my favour just now! In favour of the 'life' element,that is, which is what most people want to enjoy more. My brother works in the hubub of the City of London and earns the dosh to buy his quality of life. I work to my own schedule for clients that I like, and therefore earn the time for our quality of life. We live frugally as a result. In my opinion, it shouldn't be called a Work:Life balance, but a Money:Time balance.

Usually the question of addressing work-life balance is asked because someone is stressed by work and not fitting in all they want in life and at home. So if the balance doesn't feel right, here are my thoughts on the subject.

I reckon you have to focus on the 'life' element, unless changing the 'work' bit is an option and you can live with less money. But even if it is, and you can work less, most people, women in particular, have a habit of filling any spare 'life' time with extra burdens. Work on removing those burdens, which probably means shifting stuff onto other people - paid or unpaid. We waste enormous amounts of potentially enjoyable time shopping, cooking and cleaning. Take grocery shopping - does it bring you joy? If not then get your children to do the weekly shop online... sorted. Cleaning... get a cleaner, prep a family rota, and/or live with more dirt are all options. Think about how you spend your 'life time' and separate the burdens from the enjoyable bits. Maybe reassigning will cost you a little extra, but are you the only one in your family who cares? Is it worth the sacrifice of time and effort? Personally I quite like to nip into grocery shops after a gym trip, but it was a different story for our week's self-catering holiday, I did that online because I didn't want to interrupt family time on holiday.

As you reassign as many burdens as possible you need to seriously think hard on this really, really important question...

What would bring you joy?

Then...

Do more of it.

So as you go through your day, your week or your year, continually ask yourself "Does this bring me joy?" Look back over your week, or last year and remind yourself of the highlights and the low bits. What brought you joy? More of that is what you are aiming for!

If you manage to get the family around the dinner table, try these conversational starters, with a hidden purpose. "What was the highlight of your day/week/year?" "What is your favourite activity in the whole world?" "What was your favourite holiday... and why?" "If we could do anything we wanted on Saturday, what would you choose?"

And don't forget to answer these questions yourself!

If I feel inspired I might write my thoughts on the 'work' bit, but not today as I need to finish things off before going to art class.