Is Work and Life Balance Possible?

Is there really a routine we can develop that will devote enough time to our work and family? The discussion involving what you can do to stay organized and learn balance has a wide range of answers and changes week to week. There is a range of factors that weigh in for each individual and balance does not look the same for everyone. Even so, is it possible to achieve personal contentment with the balance in your life?

There are some that say you can. They firmly believe you can hold down a demanding career and spend quality time with your family. Take author Nigel Marsh, who spoke at a TED talk in 2010. Whether or not you think you can achieve balance, Marsh made several solid observations:

“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.”

After touching on several observations, Marsh ended with that daring statement. He believes balance is achieved by first realizing that we should stop letting others design our lives and then later make small tweaks here and there to maximize the time we do have. If we “approach balance in a balanced way” we can reimagine our entire lives and maybe even impact others in our society.

On the other hand, there are several firm believers of “there’s no such thing as balance.” Barbara Corcoran is one that says there’s no such thing as having the ability to devote adequate, quality time to family and work. interviewed the busy businesswoman and discovered this:

“What Corcoran has learned is that there’s no such thing as balance — that the only way she feels good about all of her responsibilities is to divide her day between work and family with as little overlap as possible.”

At first, Corcoran never felt like she was good enough for her kids or for work, the strain of trying to excel at both was too much. So instead, she divides up her responsibilities with very defined lines, lines she never crosses. To Corcoran and several other American, dividing the day into clearly laid out boxes will result in happiness and balance.

Who is right? Is balance something that will remain just out of reach or can we own our lives and spread our time out to cover exactly what we want it to? After listening to both sides, the only conclusion I can reach is this: it depends first on what you want balance to look like in your life. After you have a firm idea of what your ideal balance is, it is up to you to follow through with a method that works for you. Balance does not have a standard answer, it is just one of those things you’ll have to test out and discover for yourself.


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Apr 15, 2016