What does work life balance even mean

As a semi-young professional (what even is the cut off age for a young professional anyway?), I’m always looking for tips and tricks to make sure I’m using my time efficiently. I grew up with a dad that hammered into my four other siblings and I, “think smarter, not harder” so if that’s any indication of the person I’ve been molded into…well you get the picture!

The phrase “work life balance” is thrown around an egregious amount these days but what does it really mean? And it really being used in the proper context that it was created? Shockingly enough, these aren’t the questions that keep me up at night, however, it does stop me momentarily.

I recently read an article in Entrepreneur about this topic that went into the myths associated and how focusing on this ideal is setting people up for failure. From my experience, work life balance usually comes up in a super positive or super negative way because folks have either achieved it or they haven’t. After reading through the article, I’ve settled on a few takeaways:

Good in theory, bad in practice

The idea of work life balance seems great at the onset but work culture has changed a lot over the years that it’s pretty much impossible to have a clean cut between work and social life. If you constantly stress about have the divide or balance between the two, you’ll just add stress when that doesn’t consistently happen. There’s bound to be crossover, so accepting that will save you a lot of frustration.  

Office hours are often home hours

This goes in tangent with the first takeaway but sometimes office hours are all over the place. We often have the intention of shutting off as soon as it hits 5pm and yet, that’s not always possible. Sometimes we have to take a call or respond to emails during family time or on vacations. Being flexible and having open communications with management and your co-workers will definitely help alleviate stress.

Times are changing and the work environment is changing too. Upgrades to technology, pace of projects increasing and other indicators are all factors that influence this new “work life balance”. What does it mean to you? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

-Mary