Expert editions vol 25: Why the idea of work life balance is a myth

work life balance

It’s the new year….and maybe one of the things on your list is to make this the year you strike that seemingly elusive work life balance. But wait! Before you go shaking up your whole life in the pursuit of work life balance, did you know that the latest word on the street is that the whole idea of work life balance is a myth?

Yes, pick your jaw back up off the floor, sit back, and breathe, as I try to get the bottom of why the idea of work life balance is a myth with best-selling author and coach Marina Pearson…(and what else you should be aiming for instead!) in this installment of Expert Editions.

We hear the words work life balance touted everywhere it seems, but what does this even mean?

I don’t know what it means as I don’t really aspire to have a work life balance. But it would seem to me that it means that we don’t work all the time and are able to live our lives too and that we do these in equal measure!

Work and life…are they actually separate things we should be compartmentalizing?

This totally depends on what you mean by work and whether work is work for you. I love what I do and I don’t see it as that so work and life aren’t really compartmentalized. But I am aware that I have a son I want to spend time with, so I make sure that we do spend time together.

So is the pursuit of work life balance actually…a bad thing?

Great question. I don’t think it’s bad or good. What I am more curious about is what the seeker thinks this pursuit will give them? My view is this. If work/life balance is a concept we have created, then does it really exist? If it doesn’t, then how are we supposed to find it? Like a mirage in the dessert, we look for something that isn’t there in the hope that how we feel will change once we find it. But here is what I have seen. The peace we look for that we think work life balance can give us, already resides inside of us. And isn’t something we can find “out there.”

If it’s not about work life balance then, what is it really about?

For me personally (and I can only ever talk about myself and my experience) it’s about realizing that what we are looking for (peace and stillness) is something that we already are. Nothing outside of us can give us a feeling. Our feelings come from our mood which then colours everything we see. The peace that we innately are cannot be created by doing x or y. It’s inside of us already and just like the sun it gets clouded from time to time by our more turbulent moods.

And can you give us some tips on how to work towards that new goal?

There really is nothing to do but just realize that we are what we look for. If you can deepen your understanding of the thought feeling connection, your life will become a much more enriched and magical experience as opposed to something to figure out or fix.

For working mums in particular, how could this work?

What if the only outcome that we had as mum’s was to enjoy our life? And that were enough? One day when I was feeling blue, I heard a recording where the wise man who was sharing his wisdom said, “all you need to do is bring the nice feeling home”. And what I heard in that was “all I need to do is focus on myself and my own well being and the rest (Leo my son) will take care of itself!”

And it’s so true, the more still and quiet I become the easier it is to be present to my life, my son, my business and people I love. It seems that the juggle is no longer there and is replaced with flow and ease. You see the struggle we are all up against is the struggle with thinking that something other than thought is giving us a feeling. It’s not the circumstance or the situation that we struggle with. So the less we sit in the misunderstanding of what is creating our feelings, the freedom and space we create for ourselves internally.

I would also invite you to ask for help! One of the things I often see is mum’s not asking for help when they need it the most. You will be surprised at how delighted people will be if you do!

If there’s only one thing you could tell people about the myth of work life balance it would be….

I would ask a question. If you knew that the concept of work life balance doesn’t exist, what would you be and do instead?

Anything else you would like to add?

I really invite you to explore the principles behind the effortless way. If you are a stressed out mum who feels like you have no time for anything, please download my free ebook here – The 5 Ingredients To Effortless Living – on my website here www.marinapearson.com. 

Marina Pearson is an Effortless Business and Lifestyle Coach who lives in Spain with her husband and son. She is a best selling author and an international speaker. For more info on how you can live and work effortlessly visit www.marinapearson.com

Picture credit: Designed by Freepik

19 comments

  1. This is really interesting for me as I am write my blog for working parents and often think about the elusive work life balance. The truth seems to be that some days you do things well and some days you don’t. That’s about as balanced as it gets I think. Fab read thanks

  2. I think if you’re looking for more balance it means there is an area in life that you’re not happy with and perhaps you need to focus on that instead. Someone could work more hours for less money but fundamentally love what they do and therefore not strive for a work life balance. I know this isn’t always feasible but I think if you want balance really it means you want to make a change

  3. I recently went back to work after having my baby girl and it’s a juggling act. I have hd to move around my hours at work because we can’t aford childcare and my parents can only do so much. This has meant I have to work weekends when my husband doesn’t. Our work life balance as a family has changed but we know why we are doing it to build a better life for ourselves in the future.

    A really interesting post – thanks xx

  4. I think that work life balance is achievable but you have to understand you can’t have it all and will need to prioritise and compromise. I’ve just gone back to work after maternity leave and am about to start juggling childcare and children again. I’ve manage to secure part time hours to achieve a good balance.

  5. Very interesting. I agree that it very much depends on what work is for you. To me, I think that work life balance just about knowing when to switch off and relax and not be so stressed out.

  6. For me personally I believe work life balance exists, working 9-5 I try to ensure that when I leave the office (even if I take my laptop home) I keep work at work and home life home. Whether that’s work/life balance or just nature of my life I don’t know. But definitely a food for thought

  7. I hear a lot about finding the right balance, I think it’s something a lot of parents struggle with. I am lucky in that my only work is my blog, and I fit that around the children so that I am personally happy with the balance. It’s a very personal thing though, whats right for one isn’t always right for another.

  8. What troubles me is that generally it’s only a term that women discuss, often in relation to juggling family and work, but it applies to everyone. I’ve made strides in this area so happy to say I’m getting there.

  9. As someone who used to work in a demanding job requiring me to stay behind regularly to ensure the work gets done, work life balance does is exist and needs to be worked at

  10. I think there has to be a balance, every area of life needs a balance for me thats something im working on, not just work and homelife but health, financial and others too, maybe this year I’ll get there 🙂

  11. You know what it makes complete sense that is a myth because technically my work and my life co-incide with each other and the two worlds collide. Its all about the feeling like you said, really well put and not something I had thought of before, I always imagined the two as separate.

  12. It makes it easier for me if I’m enjoying my work, including the volume of it. It certainly feels much less of a division then.

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