Merge's Blog

Seek work-life BLEND instead of work-life BALANCE

Today’s post is our final installment in our series on productivity tools for leaders.  We’ve been running this video series all year, hard to believe that this is our last one!  Don’t worry, we’ll start another series early next year, so stay tuned for more information.  Right now though, my final strategy in this series is to seek to achieve work-life blend.

Seek to achieve work-life blend

Notice that I said work-life BLEND, not work-life balance.  For decades, there has been talk of work-life BALANCE.  You know … that delicate equilibrium between the time you spend at work and that which you dedicate to family, social and leisure activities, and personal interests.  The overriding objective of work-life balance is that your personal life should not suffer at the expense of your work responsibilities.  The widely-held belief has always been that you need to separate and compartmentalize each to successfully walk the tightrope between the two.  As far as I am concerned, work-life balance is a myth, an unachievable nirvana that few seem to have achieved.  I think that it’s time to embrace work-life blend.

Balance vs blend

See, BALANCE implies two extremes.  It implies that a negative – work – needs to be offset by a positive – life.  But there shouldn’t be anything negative about earning a living.  Even if you’re not crazy about your job, it is still where most people spend the bulk of their waking hours, so it is time to accept reality.

Work-life BLEND acknowledges that trying to isolate work from life is not only impossible but also places immense amounts of anxiety and tension on those trying to do so.  Whether you’re chairing a meeting, buying groceries, making a sales presentation, taking the dog to the vet, Zooming in on a video call, dropping off the dry-cleaning, researching a prospect, picking up takeout, dealing with staff absences or running on the treadmill, they’re all threads in the very fabric of your existence.  So trying to separate the individual fibres in the pursuit of work-life balance is not only unrealistic and stressful, but quite frankly unnecessary.

Work-life blend is easier

Work-life BLEND is fluid.  It recognizes that we don’t need to compartmentalize the different strands of our life.  It’s gives us permission to flex seamlessly from one area of life to another.  In the end, everything still gets done, but just not in clearly defined time periods such as nine to five, or six to eight, or whatever.  Work-life blend is what allows me to visit my dad in the hospital during the day when his doctors are more accessible, and record these videos in the early evening before the family comes home for dinner.  It gives me permission to get on a worldwide Zoom call at 4 AM to accommodate my clients on the other side of the world, and go to the gym in our building at 2 PM when it’s less crowded.

So make the mental shift from balance to blend.  Just like any other habit, changing your mindset from work-life balance to work-life blend won’t happen overnight.  So accept that it is a journey, not a destination.  But shifting your philosophy from balance to blend means that you can reduce the pressure that comes from trying to isolate and compartmentalize.  Paradoxically, when you seek to blend, you’ll end up with greater balance.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s video blog is our final one in this series that we started w-aaa-y back in January.  I plan to start a brand-new series in 2021, topic to be announced early next month, so stay tuned.  But for now, you can access the entire 22 strategy series at this link: Productivity tools for leader video series.

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