How to make work-life balance work

Work-life balance…is there such a thing? And how do we find it?

When I feel like a bit of inspiration, I  dip into the odd TED talk or Do Lecture. This talk from Nigel Marsh at TEDxSydney grabbed my attention as it does a pretty good job of covering the often controversial subject of work-life balance.

Nigel Marsh (presenter) captures the audience by sharing his own life story. He dryly delivers hard hitting, yet humorous statements about the life many of us live now, versus the quality life that he suggests we should aspire to.

Nigel decided it was time to turn his life around,

 I had been that classic corporate warrior – I was eating too much, I was drinking too much, I was working too hard and I was neglecting the family”

An afternoon picking his son up from school and sharing time at the park and over pizza gave him a whole new perspective in life, when he heard,

Dad, this has been the best day of my life, ever.”

More quotes include:

Lovely though physical exercise may be, there are other parts to life – there’s the intellectual side; there’s the emotional side; there’s the spiritual side. And to be balanced, I believe we have to attend to all of those areas – not just do 50 stomach crunches.

There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.”

You may detect similarities between some of these statements and your own life, and if so, I’m guessing your currently screaming at your phone/tablet/laptop, something along the lines of, “So smart ass…in the real world, with a full time job, a busy commute, a partner that also works, 3 small children and 2 dogs, how the flippin’ eck do you suggest I find my work-life balance???”

The good news is that Nigel is not suggesting you attempt to ‘move mountains’ but to take baby steps:

Being more balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.

Moreover, I think, it can transform society. Because if enough people do it, we can change society’s definition of success away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when he dies wins, to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like.”

Having experienced various guises of ‘live to work’ syndrome and struggled to catch my breath to climb back to normality, this is a subject close to my heart and one which I think we should all take note of.

Thanks for hitting the nail on the head Nigel and for the ‘dress down Friday’ gag.


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