There are some 35,800,000 results when you Google “work-life balance”.
Over 35 million results… It seems many are looking for balance.
I’ll admit, the quest for balance has never really resonated with me.
- Take work-life balance. Does work-life balance mean you spend half your time at work and the other half on your life?
- Is work-life balance simply making sure work doesn’t encroach on the rest of your life? That you avoid working too many hours so you actually have a life?
- Maybe balance means spending equal time on each area of your life—work, family, friends, leisure, health, community, etc.?
I’m not looking for balance.
For me it’s all about engagement. I want to be 100% engaged when I expend my time and energy.
- If I’m writing a blog post, I want to be 100% engaged in that activity and in the flow of writing.
- If I’m having dinner with a friend, I want to be 100% present and engaged.
- And, yes, if I’m scraping food off pots and pans and loading the dishwasher, then I want to be 100% engaged—even then.
To me, balance implies trying to divvy up and parcel out time and energy so there’s some sort of equilibrium or equality.
But what if I get my life sliced and diced, measured and weighed so there’s balance only to find I’m not engaged?
I’m not saying balance and engagement are mutually exclusive.
It’s just I see so many women focused on balance as if that’s the end-all, be-all.
Yet, they find so-called balance difficult to achieve, hard to maintain, and—without engagement—to be without the contentment and happiness they were expecting.
But I’ve found engagement—even without “balance”—can be exquisite.
If I spend 75% of my time this week working on my business because that’s where my engagement is highest, so be it. If that’s where I get lost in the flow and time stands still, then it will have been a great week.
And if next week I spend 75% of my time engaged in reading a stack of books, watching playoff hockey with Hans, and connecting with friends, then that’s great too.
When I’m at work, I want to be engaged. When I’m at play, I want to be engaged. My life may not be “balanced”, but it’s high on engagement.
My measuring stick for living fully is not balance; it’s engagement. What about you? Where do you stand when it comes to balance versus engagement?