Happy Workaholics Need Boundaries, Not Balance - Wholesome Life Journal

Happy Workaholics Need Boundaries, Not Balance

success-is-typically-a-function-of-our-passion-for-work-and-accomplishmentSuccess is typically a function of our passion for work and accomplishment—my clients and students are generally “happy workaholics” who love what they do and wish there were more hours in the day to get things done. (I view myself this way as well.) The concept of life/work balance isn’t that helpful for us, because there’s always more work to do, we’re eager to do it, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In some cases, particularly in junior roles early in our careers, this tendency can be exploited by a dysfunctional culture or an uncaring manager, and at those times we need to protect ourselves to avoid burnout. But as we advance professionally we’re less subject to those external forces, and we need to protect ourselves primarily from our own internal drive.

Here’s one way to think about protecting yourself. Years ago my colleague Michael Gilbert suggested that we substitute “boundaries” for “balance”: while balance requires an unsteady equilibrium among the various demands on our time and energy, boundaries offer a sustainable means of keeping things in their proper place. Gilbert drew upon his training as a biologist in his definition of healthy boundaries: “Just as functional membranes (letting the right things through and keeping the wrong things out) facilitate the healthy interaction of the cells of our bodies, so do functional personal boundaries facilitate the healthy interaction of the various parts of our lives. Bad boundaries lead to either being overwhelmed or withdrawal. Good boundaries lead to wholeness and synergy.”

What does this look like in practice? What types of boundaries do we need?

Temporal boundaries designate certain times exclusively for family, friends, exercise, and other non-work pursuits. Note that I’m talking not about balance but aboutboundaries; the amount of undisturbed time we preserve for certain activities will vary and may be quite small, but what matters is that we create and maintain a functional boundary around that time. (Read More)

See the compete original article at : https://hbr.org/2013/12/happy-workaholics-need-boundaries-not-balance

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