“If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you just might not like their idea of balance.” – Nigel Marsh
Work-life balance continues to be an ongoing challenge.
The boundaries between work and life blend and blur in our “always on”, increasingly connected world.
Fat, Forty, Fired
Nigel Marsh is author of Fat,Forty,Fired: One Man’s Frank,Funny,and Inspiring Account of Losing His Job and Finding His Life.
Nigel was a corporate warrior that was eating too much, drinking too much, working too hard, and neglecting the family. He spent a year off of work with his wife and children in an attempt to turn his life around and address work-life balance.
In the end, he found it was easy to balance work and life when there was no work, which wasn’t very useful when there wasn’t any money.
He’s spent the 7 years since, struggling with, studying, and writing about work-life balance.
Nigel shares his lessons learned and observations in this short and inspiring video about how to win the battle for work-life balance.
Video – Nigel Marsh: Work Life Balance is an Ongoing Battle
This is Nigel Marshes TED talk on how work-life balance is an ongoing battle:
- TEDxSydne – Nigel Marsh – Work Life Balance is an Ongoing Battle – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXM7MpoVAD0
An Idea on Work-Life Balance Worth Spreading
At the heart of Nigel’s presentation, is an idea worth spreading.
“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 dies wins to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well-lived looks like … and that, I think, is an idea worth spreading.”
Nigel’s 4 Observations on Work-Life Balance
- If society is to make any progress, we need an honest debate.
- Face the truth, government and institutions aren’t going to solve this problem for us.
- We have to be careful with the timeframe that we choose upon which to judge our balance.
- We need to approach balance in a balanced way.
Observation #1 – If society is to make any progress, we need an honest debate.
On Observation #1, Nigel makes the following points:
- Flexi time, dress down Friday, maternity leave just mask the core issue.
- Certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged with a young family.
- Acknowledge the reality
- Don’t fall into the trap – work long hard hours at jobs they hate to enable things to buy they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.
Observation #2 – Face the truth, government and institutions aren’t going to solve this problem for us.
On observation #2, Nigel makes the following points:
- Take control and responsibility for the types of lives we want to lead.
- If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you and you just might not like their idea of balance
- Never put the hands of your life in the hands of a commercial corporation. Commercial companies are inherently designed to get as much out of you as they can get away with, even the good, well-intentioned companies.
- We have to be responsible for setting and enforcing the boundaries that we want in our lives.
Observation #3 – We have to be careful with the timeframe that we choose upon which to judge our balance.
On observation #3, Nigel makes the following points:
- We need to be realistic, we can’t do it all in one day.
- We need to elongate the time frame upon which we judge the balance in our life, but we need to elongate it, without falling into the trap of, “I’ll have a life when I retire” … “when my kids have left home” … “When my wife has divorced me” … “my health is failing” … “I have no mates or interests left” … a day is too short … after I retire is too long … there’s got to be a middle way.
Observation #4 – We need to approach balance in a balanced way.
On observation #4, Nigel makes the following points:
- Being a fit 10 hour a day office rat isn’t more balanced, it’s more fit.
- 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 those 50 stomach crunches.
- The small things matter.
You Can Win the Battle Work-Life Balance
If you embrace the challenge, and make small changes, you can win the ongoing battle of work-life balance.
In my experience, work-life balance is really a matter of mindset, setting boundaries and buffers, and driving from my life style (i.e. choosing the jobs and paths that match the life style I want to create).
To master work-life balance, means both knowing the nature of the beast (i.e. the job I’ve chosen) and my personal habits and patterns.
To set effective boundaries, I’ve found it helps to think of my life as a portfolio and set minimums or maximums for key Hot Spots in my life, such as career, body, relationships, etc., and stay flexible in my approach.
Enjoy the video and share any of your observations or lessons learned in the battle of work-life balance.