What is Work/Life Balance, Anyway?

by Joan C Webb on April 13, 2011

Photo one-leg-stand-300x219Balance itself has no specific objective. It is a constant state of motion and flex.

To understand this, imagine the following. [You might even wish to take a break from sitting at the computer to actually DO this! Oh, go ahead. Nobody’s watching and if someone is, she won’t care!]

  • You stand up and twirl around several times.
  • You run in place for several minutes and skip to the corner of the room and back.
  • You twirl around twice more.
  • Then you immediately try to balance on one foot.

Photo woman balance on one footNow imagine (or notice if you were brave enough to stop and try this exercise!) the subtle adjustments you have to make in your foot and body to maintain equilibrium.

This imaginary activity is designed to give you a picture of what you’re attempting to do in balancing the different aspects and roles of your life during any given day. Balance doesn’t mean scheduling an equal number of hours to each role or activity in your life. Not only is that unrealistic, it’s impossible.

Developing balance is a skill (just like standing on one leg is a learned skill.) Remember God cares about all areas of your life and He wants to help you flex with your roles and goals. Today consider asking God to help you cultivate this skill. You can do it. It’s a doable and reasonable process!

I’d love to hear from you. What has helped you develop balance and maintain equilibrium? What frustrates you about all this?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lis April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Great topic! One I often discussed–and still do–as a former teacher.

Developing balance first and foremost required praying and seeing what God’s word said for me to do in particular areas of my life. Of course, the Bible is silent on a lot of the issues we face today.

I knew maintaining my household had to be my first priority–not just the literal upkeep of it, but I mean everything; marriage to my husband, raising our son, etc. Those relationships came first and everything else was secondary.

I had to learn about priorities: what absolutely needed to be done, what were things I just WANTED to do but really were not necessary, etc. I did this for every area I could–cleaning my house, working, etc.

What was so frustrating was that especially when I was a teacher–I could NOT get it all done. The balance was often TOO far on my work side and if I did try to “balance,” something just didn’t get done. It was a very hard professional field to be in as a wife and mother. That was very sad to me.

Now I’m currently at home, striving to find the balance between not having TOO much leisure time (ha!) and my responsibilities. :)

Joan C. Webb April 14, 2011 at 10:14 am

Hi Lis!
Thanks for your authenticity and for sharing. Our priorities do ebb and flow depending on our current roles.
I identify with your frustration, as well. And I think many other women would, too. It’s part of the learning to live and find “relief” in our imperfect reality: There will always be MORE to do. We most certainly live in an age of overchoice. Intentionality is a tool in this maxed-out culture. May you and I both exercise this tool today. :-)

Fran April 15, 2011 at 6:36 am

Balance doesn’t mean scheduling an equal number of hours to each role or activity in your life. Not only is that unrealistic, it’s impossible.

GREAT POINT! I think that I miss this one in my planning. Right now I am going through a tired phase in my life. I am living and working in India plus taking on line classes and maintaing a marriage. I recently had to close the door on a family relationship after 14 years of abuse. I tried hard to get help for this person but at the end of the long road I finally realized I wasn’t God! After asking repeatedly for my boundaries to be respected I wasn’t, so I got the courage up to close the door. I wish that person no ill will but frankly my sanity is at stake.

This summer I am going to take a break from classes and do some playing/relaxing. I feel that I need a break from the normal. Seems that I go through seasons. I am getting more confortable with going with the flow rather than putting more demands on myself to be all things to all people. LOL! Only took me 51 years to figure this one out.

Joan C. Webb April 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Hi Fran! Thanks for your enlightening comments. You do have a lot going on “in and around you.” Congratulations for having the courageous to choose to take a break from classes this summer to rejuvenate.
Also, that took strength and courage to set the boundary and step back from a relationship you could not fix.
You ARE figuring it out. 51 years? That’s okay. You have forty-plus left. :-)

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