Instead of Work-Life Balance, Try Focusing on Boundaries - Wholesome Life Journal

Instead of Work-Life Balance, Try Focusing on Boundaries

people-talk-about-work-life-balancePeople talk about work-life balance as if achieving it is the precious key to happiness. Tips and tricks abound. But there are two big problems with this supposed golden ticket. First, the very phrase suggests that work isn’t part of your life, it’s separate.

This post originally appeared on The Muse.

Yet your career probably takes up a huge amount of your waking hours, so how could it not be an integral part of your life? The second issue is that balance is elusive and rarely attainable. At its core, the act of balancing is both inflexible and delicate, but life requires flexibility. So on your quest for happiness, success, and fulfillment, there’s actually another “B” word you should get excited about. That word is boundaries. Develop a boundary-setting practice, and you’ll wonder why anyone is still talking about work-life balance.

It’s fine to value stability, but since life isn’t still, putting balance on a pedestal is problematic. Think of all the moving parts in a given week: big meetings, work travel, doctor’s appointments, family events, internet outages, a co-worker quitting, another one getting promoted, a lost Uber driver on the way to the networking event. Life, as you know, throws curveballs—like when your boss gets feedback from the client that he needs to push a deadline up and all of a sudden your planned 6PM departure goes out the window, and instead of going to your favorite boxing class, you work late and pass out at 2AM. On that kind of unpredictable day, it’s pretty hard to feel good about the whole work-life balance thing.

You can, however, feel good about boundaries, which put you in the driver’s seat with the understanding that stuff happens and won’t always go as planned. You can regularly reconfigure how your day and week is going to play out based on professional responsibilities and personal needs and not freak out if one day is all work and zero play. (Read More)

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