I have a children’s song stuck in my head.
One grey elephant balancing, Step by step on a piece of string, He thought is was such a wonderful stunt, That he called for another, Elephant!
And so the song goes on – 2, 3, 4 grey elephants all implausibly balancing on one piece of string, until…
5 grey elephants balancing, Step by step on a piece of string, All of a sudden the piece of string broke, And down came all the elephant folk!
What a perfect analogy for Life Balance. Let’s say the piece of string is you, and the grey elephants are the load, or responsibilities, you carry. How many “grey elephants” can you balance before you “break”?
In preparation for this article, I put out a call for help. I asked…
Work-Life Balance –
How do you define it?
Is it attainable?
Do you have it?
How do you make sure you get it?
Here’s what I learned. Some people had never heard the expression. Some felt it was elusive and indefinable. Some enjoyed their work so much they found it hard to separate work from the rest of their life. Dee Le Blang joked that “it is the fine line between insanity and being able to smile each day“. Interestingly, no-one defined being “out of balance” as having too much “life” and not enough “work”, always the reverse. It seems to me “work-life balance” is a subjective term with as many interpretations as there are situations.
I was encouraged to hear the great majority felt work-life balance is attainable. Far fewer, though, believed they currently achieved a satisfactory work-life balance. On further examination, a pattern emerged.
Those who were dissatisfied
- often felt overwhelmed
- felt they had no control
- felt they took on too many responsibilities
- rarely took time off
Those who were satisfied
- worked at achieving that satisfaction
- planned their time off
- spent time winding down
- pursued hobbies and interests outside work
Now it’s over to you. Let’s hear your ideas on Work-Life Balance and how it can be achieved. In other words, how many elephants can you balance? And how do you keep that string strong?
And I’ll keep singing…
One grey elephant balancing…
This article was originally published at The Calm Space.