‘Work-life balance’ is such a daft expression, and yet it will not lie down. I find the suggestion of a simple polarity (or bipolarity?) between work and life really depressing.


We need a more balanced and nuanced approach to the business of living; and we need to put work into a better perspective. Some coaches use a life wheel to encourage their clients to do this. Draw a circle and divide it into eight segments. Now you can think about more areas that are important in your life.

Work will probably be one of them, and career is another candidate. Many working people do not think enough about their own professional and career development, and what is in it for them.

There is family, and friends – you might want to separate these or put them together. And health: if we are not looking after our physical and mental wellbeing, then we are doing ourselves and possibly the wider society a disservice.

Fun is important: maybe both hobbies and leisure pursuits – two more segments for some. Our spiritual side is central for some, for others not. I hope everyone would think about their role in the community and the importance of giving something back.

Finally, there is a stunningly simple idea from Nick Bate, a great trainer and business thinker: finance. We work for money, but if we do not spend time making our money work for us, we might as well burn the stuff. This is definitely in my life wheel.

After labelling your segments, shade in the proportion of each to show how satisfied you are with the balance there. Then think about what you see. Then make some decisions.

Your list may be very different from the one I just brainstormed with myself. The main thing is to throw out the notion of ‘work-life balance’. Would not simply ‘life balance’ be better for everyone?

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally: steveflind@aol.com.

Steve Flinders. Photo © Steve Flinders

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’

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