SLT072: How Do You Define Work Life Balance?

Vanessa was getting ready to throw away a magazine (because of course, she practices the “one in one out rule“) and the headline on the cover was: The Balanced Life! She told me that she paused for a moment and thought, “Do I have balance?” We hear so much about it, but how do we define work life balance?

What does it really mean? Can we really achieve a balanced life? And so we got to talking about balance for a while, and thought we’d explore that a little more…. (Read more…)

Play

Note: Get a copy of Supermom vs Super Mom for yourself or gift it to a Mom who needs a little “less” in her life. It’s less than $5 and will save you countless hours and effort!

Buy Supermom vs Supermom

Topic:  How Do You Define Work Life Balance?

It seems like the whole “balance thing” has become a buzz word. We hear about balance all the time in magazines, on television, supposed experts, life coaches, etc. Terms like work life balance, balanced diet, and even balanced budget are pretty pervasive.  But what does balance really mean in your life? We think “balanced” is different for everyone and there’s no one prescribed balanced lifestyle that works for everyone. Nor is there one way to define work life balance in a way that’s universal. So, we took a look at it from our own experience.

For us, work life balance includes myriad topics we’ve discussed on previous shows, such as:

    • The right size home
    • The right amount of time spent on work
    • Valuing experiences vs things
    • Freedom from stuff…in exchange for more free time to do what we love
    • Healthier living and relationships
    • Working as part of a team, focused on a larger goal…at work and/or in the community
    • Essentially, we define work life balance as living a fulfilling life…that will include ups and downs but overall full of happiness, joy, etc.

As we talked about what this balance meant to us, there were some pretty specific things that were NOT included in our definition of work life balance, too. Here are some:

    • We don’t think it means being on permanent vacation
    • It’s not about striving to eliminate all challenges in  our life…that’s part of life! Sure, balance is easier when you don’t have challenges, but that’s not real life!
    • It’s not about eliminating everything…just all the “junk”

So what gets in our way of achieving a good balance? For us, historically it’s been things like:

    • Putting an overemphasis on work related tasks when it interferes in other areas of our lives
    • Over obligating ourselves monetarily through too much spending
    • Over obligating ourselves by accepting too many commitments that sap our time
    • Consumerism always makes you feel like you’re missing something, and if you have this item, take this pill, look this way, then your life will be complete
    • Overindulging in one way or another, such as with:
      • Food
      • Drink
      • Technology

Speaking of technology, that deserves a deeper look. What’s the problem with technology? It’s invading every realm of our personal space, that’s what! It’s even encroaching on the most intimate of spaces and events:

    • The bathroom
    • The shower
    • The bedroom
    • Family meals

When we overindulge in technology, it distracts our attention and focus, and affects our ability to communicate and deal. For the younger generation of teens, it’s even impacted the way they communicate. Many rely on electronic communication versus face to face communication. In some, this has hindered their ability to deal with confrontation. Technology, when abused, hinders our ability to be present…to pause, and be in the moment; to be alone in our thoughts to contemplate.  Ironically most people say they want to “give it up”, but never do.

How We Strive To Create Balance

So here are some ways we try to maintain to ensure we stay true to how we define work life balance. We:

    • Review our goals
    • Reward ourselves when we achieve our goals or reach milestones
    • Avoid triggers and bad situations (negative relationships, inappropriate foods, shopping malls, etc)
    • Establish “no-tech” days or digital fasts. I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone about 2 weeks ago (Yay!)
    • Schedule in family/fun time
    • Take time for ourselves
    • Focus on the present and don’t dwell on the past
    • Keep moving
    • Check things off your to-do lists….even if it means removing a to-do item all together
    • Learn to value experiences over things

Wrap Up:

So…in the end, like most things, we define work-life balance on our own. It’s not 50/50…it’s not 80/20. It’s up to You to determine the balance that is right for you, You make a plan to achieve that balance, and hopefully, building on the habits we talked about last week, You develop the keystone habits routines, and rituals that bring about the balance that’s right for you.

Question:

So what does a balanced life look like to you? How do you find or work towards that balance in your life? We’d love to know.  Share your successes and struggles in the comments below. 

Announcements:

  •          Our LAST Regular Episode:  

    • The next episode of Simple Life Together will be our last regularly scheduled episode of the show. Of course, we’ll talk a lot more about that on that episode, but we wanted to give you not only a “heads up”, but also a chance to write in via email (Dan, Vanessa), the Facebook page, and the Edit & Forget It group on Facebook and ask us any questions you think should be answered on that final show, and we’ll do our best to answer them candidly.
  • SimpleREV Tickets

    • Be sure to check out the podcast Dan does with Joel Zaslofsky called All Things Simple Rev!  In the latest episode we talked about the changes quite a bit and we’re stoked! So is our friend and keynote speaker for the event, Joshua Becker from BecomingMinimalist.com, and all the other speakers as well. Of course you can listen to the latest episode at SimpleREV.com/008.
    • There have been some BIG changes to SimpleREV! As of now, the number of tickets is capped at 60, and EVERY TICKET is now essentially a VIP ticket! So make sure you lock yours in today.
    • Currently, there are only a handful of tickets left, so hurry!
    • SimpleRev is being held on Oct 3-4, 2014, in beautiful downtown Minneapolis on the University of St Thomas campus. To get your tickets at the lowest price that will ever be offered, just go to SimpleRev.com/tickets. And be sure to check out the SimpleREV podcast in iTunes, as well. Or just search iTunes for SimpleREV, all one word.

iTunes Reviews:

Thanks to all of you for thinking of us and taking the time to leave a review:

    • Annareview123 (Sweden)
    • Molly DeMond (United States of America)
    • PhilipHMA (United States of America)
    • cwp102c (United States of America)

Shownotes:

You can download a PDF of our show prep, too.

Resources and Links:

Photo Credit Quinn Dombrowski

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “SLT072: How Do You Define Work Life Balance?

  1. Great episode you two! I’m always thinking about this too. We put a ton of pressure on ourselves to have a balanced life, don’t we? Especially women I think (I rarely hear men go on and on about doing it all the way women do). I wrote a post on the concept of balance long ago and I concluded we are always out of balance at the moment (or at least I am) but may be in balance if you look at a longer stretch of time. What I mean is there is always one area suffering if another area requires attention. For example when I’m in a crunch period at work, I may exercise a little less that week. When I was getting my blog started and learning wordpress, I definitely spent less time at the beach with friends and got less sleep. But those shorter durations can be worth it as long as we are aware and don’t get into a rut. We need to re-evaluate and be conscious of when it’s time to refocus heavily on different areas, throw things off balance in an intentional way. Simple living definitely plays into this as you said, less stuff means more time to focus on your pillars. So agree about the digital tools! I love my mobile devices for efficiency and productivity, reading, etc but people are also wasting valuable time just randomly scrolling through facebook too. I do vacays every now and then. I know a Maui crime novel writer who does weekends in a hotel away from everything including social media so she can crank those books out (she writes several books a year, Toby Neal). I always thought the waterproof pouches were for people at the beach, poolside, hiking and on boats (I confess I have one made in Japan – it’s awesome and keeps the sand out of the ports too, also allows me to throw it in a cooler since ios devices tend to heat up in the sun). I surely hope people are not using it in the shower, my goodness. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. I noticed recently too how many people are on the phones in the theater (all ages!), not texting the baby sitter but randomly scrolling back and forth between social media platforms. It’s annoying for me sitting behind or on the side of them and it makes me sad for them.

  2. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I have listened to your podcast faithfully since almost the beginning. You guys are informative without being preachy, funny without throwing each other under the bus and really do a great show. I can understand you probably have your own reasons for not doing the show as regularly but I’ve gotta say it makes me sad!

    • Don’t be too sad, Andy!!! We’ll be around more than you might think. We’ve tweaked our plan since Episode 72…just a bit 😉

  3. So sad to hear that the show will be ending, but looking forward to hearing what’s next for you both. Thanks for all that you’ve shared within your show to help us live more simply! It means so much to have inspiring people like yourselves open parts of your lives so that the rest of us can learn and grow within our own lives. All the best in the next steps of your journey!

    • You’re so welcome, Meredith! Check out our upcoming episode. We’ve “tweaked” our future plans a bit. You’ll be stuck with us for a while longer…