As many of us will shortly be taking a break over the festive season, I thought this would be a good time to talk briefly about work/life balance. Many people share the sense that work, worry about work, or pondering the future when it comes to our careers can be rather too consuming. It is common to feel that our lives are out of balance at times.
We tend to frame the concept of work/life balance in terms of how we make a living, and ‘leisure time’.
Many people are thinking very differently about work than they did do before this crisis, and are keen to find new ways to reconcile work life with personal life, and with ethical considerations. Others are simply looking for new ways to make a living in a world that seems very uncertain and precarious.
But continuing to think along the lines of making a living and leisure time can lead us to perpetuate systems that do not work for so many. True work life balance is not best achieved by squeezing in leisure time around practical necessities. Real balance is best achieved by thinking holistically about all facets of life.
It is not enough to find a compromise balance between work and ‘free time’. It is important to look at all areas of your life and to find an approach that really works for you in a real, practical, sustainable and emotional way.
The Buddhist concept of ‘right livelihood’, and the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ might help in finding the right path. Not only could these concepts help you identify potential ways to live sustainably and make money. They can also help you find balance in your life, and to make our world better while feeling fulfilled and happy. Finding the right lifestyles and way to works will also be crucial in building back better and reaching a future we want to see.
But ultimately, as we move into a new year that we hope will be much better than the one before we need to question the old concepts and work and leisure. We need to flush out the old that does not work. And work together to find a better, more sustainable path, not just for ourselves but for society as a whole.