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The Work Life Balance Myth

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

I’ve never really connected with the phrase ‘work life balance’… I guess mine never feels equally balanced and I like working, so sometimes I chose to do work.

I even question myself sometimes, “I want to do this, but is this detrimental to my aim of creating a mentally healthy community?”

To make it more complicated, sometimes I feel more stressed and overwhelmed when work is quiet but life is stressful.

I have finished reading David J McNeff’s Work Life Balance Myth and loved it. Rather than aiming for balance its about prioritising all elements of your life to enhance your wellbeing.

NcNeff calls elements of our life slices and explains we have seven slices:

1. Family - role in family

2. Professional – work or career

3. Personal - hobbies, personal pursuits, and alone time

4. Physical - taking time to look after your body

5. Intellectual – manifesting your curiosity

6. Emotional – how you think and feel about yourself and your circumstances

7. Spiritual - faith, values and belief is nurtured

Something I really like that McNeff does is explain family similar to work, as you have a role and responsibilities, and this is not always fun, personal or what you would chose to do with your time. This is important because if you put it as a part of your personal slice and its stressful, the personal element of your life is being neglected and you may feel like you are losing a bit of yourself, your joy or ability to cope.

We are aware that in most people lives, family and personal elements take priority, this is fine. Let’s just try to balance it out with at least a few percent going to our other slices.

McNeff describes the almost immediate change he see’s in his clients dealing with overwhelm when using this model and the turning point people have when focusing on neglect to an area rather than trying to improve or perfect the elements they already prioritise.

What percentage of time is spent on each of your slices? Which areas of your areas need more positive attention?

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