Work-life balance is a broad concept evoking a prioritizing between "work" (career or ambition) on one hand and "life" (pleasure, leisure, family or spiritual development) on the other. The term itself may set up false ideas about there being an “ideal” balancing point when in fact the goal may be less about true balance and more about valuing conscious choice when it comes to where and how we spend our time. One person may think of work-life balance when they are experiencing life stress, while another may be trying to set priorities for addressing personal and family needs.
Work-Life Balance Exercises: Use the worksheet entitled Balancing Life Roles (PDF), to help examine the time you spend in your major life roles and the changes you would like to make to create better balance among your life roles. Answer the following questions to become more clear on what work-life balance means to you.
- What does “Work-Life Balance” mean to you?
- Consider the fit between your current work role and your life outside work. Are you satisfied with your work-life balance?
- What are your values about work and where it fits in your life as a whole?
- What are your partner’s or family’s values about work and where it fits into your life together?
- What is the impact of work-life balance and imbalance on you?
- What are the issues that you prefer (“wants”) versus those that are absolutely non-negotiable (“needs”) in terms of work-life balance?
- What do your answers to these questions tell you about your work-life concerns?