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May 06, 2021 5 min read 2 Comments

Work-Life Balance has become, to most of us, the mythical creature of the workplace: everyone knows what it is, but almost no one has experienced it (with any degree of success) firsthand. Employees claiming that they have are met with skepticism and for good reason. After all, how can we believe them when no one else in the office - from the rarely seen CEO down to the bright-eyed intern - has the time for anything but work? That being said, it just can't be real. 


But maybe it is, though only aspects of it. A lot of successful people agree that we should give more importance to both aspects of our lives - that is, work life and personal life - but that the balance part makes Work-Life Balance itself an outdated, if not faulty, concept. After all, balance is defined as an equilibrium where two things are equal. So, say eight hours for work and another eight hours for doing what you love and the people that you care about? Life just doesn't work like that.


Here's what we found in our search to discover the elusive solution to the problem: how can I prioritize both my life and my career? Here are some useful bits and pieces from alternatives to Work-Life Balance. We hope that like us, you find something from this list that will work for you!

 

1. WORK+LIFT FIT™

Coined by work transformation strategist Cali Williams Yost, the Work-Life Fit concept is simple: finding a "fit" that "meets your needs and the needs of your job" with great emphasis on flexibility that goes beyond a flex schedule. Yost's company website, Flex Strategy Group, indicates that it's about learning how to use the technology and workspace options available to build a strategy that creates a fit that is unique for every person. But it's not just any fit: it's one that can be tweaked or "reset" as needed may it be on a day-to-day basis or for the long term as life and career priorities change. 


For example, more businesses have come to recognize the benefits of having teams that can remain connected remotely by way of today's technology, regardless of varying locations and time zones. On the employee side, team members spend the time they get as a result of being able to work from home on important things: chores and other responsibilities or quality time with their loved ones. There is, therefore, a fit: though needs and demands can (and will most likely) change on either side of such a working relationship, at the moment, the current set up works all around. Therefore, by work day's end, everyone is happy and satisfied. 


Here’s a great way to track the strategies you have in place, one that’s a great fit for someone who’s on the go: the Pocket Journal is ultra portable and is easy to carry around while you navigate around your flexible schedule. 

 

2. WORK-LIFE BLEND

Just as the word "blend" implies, this concept veers away from the unrealistic goal of keeping work and life completely separate by blending them together instead. It's in line with the belief that there's no way to completely shut off from one or the other, especially now that the world is connected 24/7. So instead of insisting on the impossible, "the blend" encourages incorporating career with personal life and vice versa. Like Work-Life Fit, this is also "tweakable" and will look different for every person. 


At its most basic, Work-Life Blend can be as simple as being able to check your personal emails during work hours, or answering job-related calls while enjoying some me time. On a whole new level, another example is working during extended vacation: responding to work emails or joining team meetings via video call as needed, and spending the downtime like evenings to get some work done. This allows plenty of people to advance their career while enjoying their lifestyle of choice - and all without having to make sacrifices or suffer a trade off. 


3. WORK-LIFE HARMONY

Unlike the rest of the items in this list, Work-Life Harmony encourages a shift in your approach to work and life. It starts with figuring out exactly what you want out of both and then making conscious, deliberate choices that shape your career and personal life in ways that bring "harmony." Some serious reflection and planning is involved, giving thought to things like the type of work you want to do, what you want to be doing outside working hours, and how to best maximize your time after such considerations. 


To the extremes, Work-Life Harmony is a complete lifestyle change where decisions are made with a purpose: that is, to find a harmony that brings your career and personal life in tune with one another based on your own preferences. It's all about being proactive and taking charge of your life through and through so that you can spend precious time on the things and people that matter to you. 


Start jotting down and hashing out those plans using the Field Journal, designed and crafted to last a lifetime to accompany you through all the exciting stages of your life.  


4. WORK-LIFE WELL-BEING

Just as the name suggests, this concept puts well-being on top of the priority list. If we're going to go with the simplest definition, well-being is "feeling well" and has a rather broad scope - happiness, great mental and physical health, having a sense of purpose, and thriving socially - but therein lies the beauty of Work-Life Well-Being: these aspects are interconnected, and making sure all are functioning can impact the overall quality of life. In the case of your career and personal life, finding meaning that aligns the two can provide you greater satisfaction. If this means finding a job that shares your values and allows professional growth that can help with your life goals, then so be it. 


What's great about Work-Life Well-Being is that the resulting positive boost from one aspect can cause a domino effect that impacts the rest. Of course, focusing on just a single aspect won't automatically build up each one, so paying attention to each of them and putting in the necessary work to improve these aspects individually is still vital to keep your overall well-being in check. 


Even though Work-Life Balance doesn't quite cut it when it comes to solving our everlasting dilemma that is having enough time and energy for work and play, it sure has provided alternatives that now give us the freedom to choose what matters to us. As different people with different responsibilities and priorities, what we need the most are options - options on how we can lead better lives, ones that help us maximize the time we spend at work, with family and friends, and doing what we love. 


Do you believe in the concept of Work-Life Balance? If you do, how has it helped you improve your life in general? If not, what other alternatives have you encountered, or come up with, that helped you find happiness and satisfaction in your career and personal life? Let us know through the comments below! And busy as we all are with everything life throws our way, don’t forget:


Keep on journaling! 


2 Responses

LOCHBY
LOCHBY

June 03, 2021

It’s understandable that not everyone will find the other alternatives to Work-Life Balance as something that can work for them, but our hope is that readers can find bits and pieces from the list that can be a great starting point for anyone who’s looking at having a better handle on time spent for work and their personal lives. We do agree though, that it all falls down to becoming more responsible about it.

Thanks for sharing your insights too, Doug!

Doug
Doug

June 03, 2021

I struggle with this a lot. I have been “working from home” for nearly a decade, and was hybrid quite a bit for many years prior to that. It is the nature of my work and the flexibility was mutually beneficial (though, more of a benefit to my employers than to me, according to my wife — and I don’t disagree). Te challenge is that it is too easy to get to work and too hard to leave. Sure, you don’t have the “lost time” spent commuting, but you need to be really cognizant of the time that you spend “at work” vs. with your family. Admittedly, I am a bit of a workaholic and have leaned too far towards the “work” side of the equation. That is easy when you enjoy your work and a re passionate about the success of your project and/or team, but becomes more challenging when your employer expects that level of work from you and it becomes the new baseline.

There are some who take advantage, especially now that working remotely is more mainstream — and these people are the reason more of us could not work remotely in the past — so I also suggest keeping track of your work time. You don’t need to do minute-by-minute list, but ensure that you are putting in quality work time AND spending time with your family. “Balance” may not be the right word here, but I don’t know that I like any of the others any better. It is more like “responsibly managing time for work and life”. :)

Thanks for the article, I appreciate the sharing and insights.

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