These days, the concept of “work-life balance” is tossed around liberally. Potential employees want to know if it’s part of the company culture. Existing employees want to hear more about it from their managers.
Everyone wants to promise work-life balance. Few can deliver on it.
Why is that? Why is work-life balance so hard to achieve?
Here’s the secret: There’s no such thing as work-life balance. It doesn’t exist. Why? Because the whole concept implies that there’s a finish line. It suggests that there’s a point at which you’ll say, “Ahh. I am finally doing everything I need to do at work and everything I need to do at home. I am happy. I am at peace. I am balanced.”
Sorry, but that’s bull.
It’s impossible to be in balance, because life is always changing. Your work demands are always changing. Your life demands are always changing. The moment you achieve balance, something shifts. It’s a wild goose chase.
So stop chasing.
Instead of trying to achieve work-life balance, strive for work-life compromise. Or whatever you want to call it. Some days, you need to leave work at 3:00 p.m. to watch your kid in a recital. Sometimes you need to show up at the office on a Saturday to finish up a critical presentation.
Do these compromises mean you aren’t in balance? Hardly. It means you’re making a constant series of choices—compromises, really—in order to find the best fit for that particular day.
The choices won’t end. Some are longer term, such as arranging to always come in at 9:30 on Fridays so you can attend your favorite yoga class. Others are in-the-moment decisions: Do you take the phone call or not?
Embrace the choices. Don’t fight them. Telling yourself or others that work-life balance is concrete and achievable merely sets you up for failing at yet another goal.
Instead, cultivate a culture of flexibility and fluidity within your company and within your life. Understand that things come up. Priorities shift constantly. Sacrifices need to be made.
One surefire way to make those compromises swing in your favor? Delegate. We can help.