Is Work/Life Balance Weakness?

work/life balance Mar 15, 2019

I struck a nerve.

Over the last week, we've been sharing tips & tools to reclaim your time and prevent burnout.

I've gotten some pushback, including this short and sweet email:

"No issue from me.  I CAN HANDLE IT!!  MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY."

Who knew time management could be so controversial?

Others have sent notes admitting their 24-7 work habits, but chalk it up to a need to be challenged, the excitement of being busy and a deep love for their work.

This feedback made me wonder: Do we see work/life balance as weakness? (said in my best Sarah Jessica Parker narration)

The truth: I've done my fair share of eye-rolling about work/life balance.

The phrase feels cliche, overused and almost impossible to achieve.

Then, I started this business. Work became life - in great ways (like typing this in comfy pants & slippers) and in mind-breaking, pain-inducing, panic-producing ways (how will I make money today?!).

One of the amazing parts of this business is talking with hundreds of fundraisers all over the country - from small nonprofits to huge universities.

I've learned that the struggle is real!

Bad ass, super-talented, high-achieving humans who love their work can and do find it hard to balance their work lives and their home lives.

A huge part of the problem: We pretend that work life and home life are disconnected.

But they are inextricably linked.

Your personal life and your work life make up ALL OF YOUR LIFE.

Stress in one can ignite stress in the other.

If you were up all night with your coughing kid, or had a fight with your spouse and slept on the couch or couldn't stop worrying about how much your car repair will cost - these things effect you at work.

The good news: Fulfillment in one can boost fulfillment in the other.

Which leads me to...Reclaim Your Time Tip #4!:

  • Take a vacation. In this HBR article, researchers Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan sited: people who took fewer than 10 of their vacation days per year had a 34.6% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus in a three-year period of time. People who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65.4% chance of receiving a raise or bonus.

In short, if you take 11 or more of your vacation days, you are more than 30% more likely to receive a raise.

The kind of vacation matters - low-stress, well-planned and far away. Read this before you plan.

Other great news: more and more companies are embracing their employees as whole humans.

In Inc.'s article on the top 100 places to work, employees say:

  • #2: Zoom - "Fantastic company culture of 'Happiness.' You feel it every day and you can't wait to come to work because you feel 'cared for.'"
  • #6 LinkedIn - "I love working for a company whose vision aligns with my personal beliefs. We are motivated by our belief that we are changing the world for the better." 
  • #7 Facebook - "I've never worked at a company that cares so much about its people. Taking care of yourself and working sustainably is part of the culture."
  • #20 Paylocity - "The work life balance is amazing. You are treated like an individual and not a number."

Work/life balance is NOT weakness. It's an acknowledgement of the undeniable connection between work life and home life.

It's an investment in the amazing humans we want to work with, for and around.

Wishing you success in all parts of your life.

Get out there. Take an awesome vacation! Raise more money. Change the world!