Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

An increasing number of people have given up on the balancing act. They have found that it’s impossible to draw a line in the sand and divide their lives into two parts.

We only have one life to live, so why complicate it by trying to reach our goals in two separate worlds as if one doesn’t have anything to do with the other one?

You might find that it pays to NOT try to balance your life!

Thus the emerging trend of work life integration. This concept is still in its early stages, but more and more people are finding that it works better for them than trying to keep things in balance.

Work life integration is all about flowing seamlessly from one area to the other. Your spouse may say something that helps you at work. Your co-workers may give you insight for things at home.

Pay attention to all the important people and priorities in your life all the time, rather than thinking that you need to segment them.

A paradigm shift

That’s the essence of work life integration. It requires a paradigm shift … thinking about your life a different way. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to be great in two separate areas of your life, focus on doing your best in your single life. Remove the limitations that you’ve placed on yourself.

Limitation #1 – Place
Work only occurs at the office; personal only occurs at home. We shouldn’t mix the two. It’s how we’ve been trained to think. The problem is … it doesn’t work!

Limitation #2 – Time
Many people think they of work as the activities they do during certain times of the day (e.g. 9 to 5). Then they live their personal lives. It may make sense for you to adjust your schedule, depending upon the flexibility your employer allows.

A recent study by Hudson, a leading international recruiting firm, showed that nearly one-third of the people surveyed ranked flexibility as their #1 priority in considering a new job offer.

Limitation #3 – Daily reconciliation

We think that we need to achieve balance every day. In reality, sometimes work demands more of us; at other times, our personal life needs the most attention. Give yourself permission to focus on what’s most important. Don’t worry about whether everything is balanced every day.

If you think about it, work – life balance is sort of an unnatural expectation. Work – life integration is more congruent with how most of us actually live. It’s just more natural.
How we use work – life integration

Here at Bigg Success, we understand this concept very well because we live it. We work together, often at home. We play together. We often get to travel together, combining some pleasure with the primary purpose of the trip. We also find that a lot of personal conversations lead to ideas like the one you’re reading now.

Of course, not all spouses can (or should) work together. Do what works for you. The good news is that, according to the Chartered Management Institute, there will be a blurring of boundaries between work and family because more and more of us will be working virtually.

Our bigg quote today comes from Karl Weick.

“Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do.”

So pull yourself together … integrate your lives.

Next time, we’ll discuss four things to pay attention to that pay off. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts 

25 Tips to Take Control of Your Life

Outsource Your Household Chores to Balance Your Life

Work – Life Balance Lessons From Stretch Armstrong

Leaping From Place To Place: See The World While You Work 

(Image by darktaco)

12 replies
  1. George and Mary-Lynn
    George and Mary-Lynn says:

    Nick, balance is a constant challenge. That’s why we like this concept of integration better. You aren’t focusing on balance each part of your life, but rather allowing these 2 parts to flow fluidly back and forth.

  2. Martin
    Martin says:

    If you work 12 hours a day, more than 5 days a week, does this discussion of work/life balance make any sense at all? In the early part of the 20th century, workers fought hard (some died) for an 8 hour workday so that they could have time to do something other than work and sleep. Many high-tech workers and young managers climbing the corporate ladder seem more than willing to give that up for promised future gains. My average day is 10 hours. I am thankful that I only work 5 days a week. Add a lengthening daily commute to that and most of my day is gone during the week. Some of us resolve this by shortening the amount of time we sleep. 5-6 hours of sleep a night is not uncommon and not enough. Lowered productivity results, leading to longer hours as a way to get something done. I see more cases of fatigue leading to lowered productivity and lower quality results. “Good enough” becomes the rule because we’re too tired to strive for more.

    Mashing work and life together works great only if you love what you do. Ask Mick Jagger about work/life balance. He probably has no problem. Many of us are not that fortunate.

  3. Paul
    Paul says:

    I have been working professionally and blogging on the same subject for a little while now so it is great to read a common viewpoint. Work/life balance was an important step but only the notions of work/life integration and work/life fusion provide the right context for the future.

  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    Understand what you’re proposing, but I don’t want my work life invading my personal life any more than it already does. I like the boundaries that are there. Why subject my family to my work any more than I have to?

  5. George and Mary-Lynn
    George and Mary-Lynn says:

    @Martin – “Mashing work and life together works great only if you love what you do.” You say it well. This may be the most important part of being able to integrate work and life.

    @Paul – We just zipped over to your blog and subscribed to your feed!

    @Amy – It sounds like you’ve you’ve found what works well for you, which is fantastic! Our point is that there is a growing number of people for whom balance doesn’t work…and integration may be the answer.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts with us!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] We’re testing a concept and thought we’d share it with you. If you’re a regular here, you know we think that work-life balance doesn’t work. […]

  2. […] We don’t think work–life balance works. However, there’s no denying that we all perform best when we have a blend of both the personal and the professional. […]

  3. […] you’re one of our regulars, you know that we don’t think work – life balance works. It may for some people, but it doesn’t for […]

  4. […] said before that work – life balance doesn’t work for us. We do better integrating the two […]

  5. Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work…

    A new concept you can use to merge your professional and personal life….

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