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Challenging the concept of Work-Life Balance

Ah, the concept of Work-Life Balance... Likely a common topic these days as we are seeing a shift "back to the office" after several years of remote work. Personally, I do not like this phrase. It implies that you have to choose between work and life. While on the subject, I also do not like the phrase "do you work to live or live to work"... These old phrases are binary in nature. Rarely is life binary and we do not have to take such a polarizing stance on work and life.

Rather, what if we approach the concept of Work and Life from a different perspective. Stepping back, what are your values and your top priorities at this phase in life? For me, at 37 years old with a wife and two young children, my family is my top priority. Does this mean I am not committed to my profession? (No) Does this mean I am not all in our team's goals? (No) Does this mean that I do not work hard to serve our team, our clients, and our organization? (No) Well then, what does this mean... What it means is that I structure my work around my family. I understand where I need to be for my family, and then ensure I schedule and accomplish my goals around this. Does this entail a few late nights, early mornings and Sunday afternoons... yes. It also allows me to attend school activities, swim lessons, and to take my kids to school a few days per week. It also means that I do not have an unlimited amount of time for work. Ironically, that has actually made me better because I now have to intently focus on my work actives to ensure I am getting the right things accomplished. I actually feel that I am more effective now than I ever have been... even thought I am likely working less total hours than I did 3-4 years ago.

At the same time, there have been seasons of my life where work was my top priority. I will never forget during the Becker CPA exam prep where the instructor joked that "he was our boyfriend/girlfriend, our Friday night date, etc." This was so true and I am grateful for my time and focus during that time.

The key here is that we can not approach life in a binary way. So often we need to tailor our lives to reflect our priorities. Yes, many of us have boundaries in our lives (work, family, school, etc.). However, I would challenge that you have more autonomy that you realize if you take a step back to think critically.

So, what are your priorities and how are you structuring your life to achieve them?

Thanks and have a wonderful Easter weekend!

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