Very interesting stuff listed on Wikipedia under Work Life Balance …. Did you know that according to Wikipedia, “The first enforceable hours’ law in the United States was in 1874 when Massachusetts enacted a law which limited the amount of time that women and children could work each week. This limit was set at sixty hours per week.” Read more
The other night I was chatting with a friend of mine who is a wicked sharp intuitive coach type and we were brainstorming ways we could work together. The conversation brought me to a big idea about balance that I had not thought of before. There is balance of an individual and there is balance of a group. I know it’s a really simple idea and might seem very obvious to many, but hear me out on this.
Sometimes an individual is out of balance and they feel tension in all areas of their life – and sometimes an individual might have pretty solid internal balance – but the team they work on, or family they are part of are out of balance – thus creating a different type of tension. And sometimes an individual might not know which area of balance to address only that they have tension in their life.
In one example boundaries need to be set with the self to make choices that line up with internal values – in the other boundaries need to be set with others to support the values of the group. Both examples involve boundary setting – however the way to go about setting the boundaries is different. One is internal reflection about your own needs and the other is external awareness around how your needs intersect with those around you.
Either way internal awareness is needed though sometimes the path is a deeper internal reflection, that is the area my friend is a master at, and other times, once the internal needs are at least bobbing around the surface, the way those needs comingle with others can be addressed, you guessed it the area where my work is focused.
I don’t know what shape our potential partnership might take -I don know that that for a individual to have balance – we both have a role to play.
It is nice to know that I’m not alone in the world with how I’ve been feeling about e-mail the last year. There is just too damn much of it. It seems that more and more people are hiding behind e-mail in place of face to face interaction and that many are using it to cover their butts so they can avoid accountability for their decisions. Even worse I’ve seen e-mail bullying on the rise – where people use it as an intimation tool, writing things they’d never say in a meeting to obtain group by in. I was a mid level no one in the corporation I left and there were days I’d get upwards of 400 mails. I got to a point where I felt like my job was to answer e-mail, I lived in my inbox out of survival for my job. (I don’t even want to think about all the nights in front of the TV – I plugged away, chasing the elusive under 50 unopened mails before turning in for the night.)
Yesterday, there was an article in the Seattle Times, The e-mail inbox is falling out of favor that stated, “According to a growing number of academics, “technologists” and psychologists, our dependence on e-mail — the need to attend to a constantly beeping inbox — is creating anxiety in the workplace, adversely affecting the ability to focus, diminishing productivity and threatening family bonds.”
The best part of the whole article for me was, “Timothy Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” says that what’s wrong with e-mail is that it simulates forward motion but doesn’t necessarily mean action.” I think he nailed it – and it explains why hundreds of thousands of people come home every night from the office and don’t feel like they accomplished a thing.
Enjoy the article and as a little game ask yourself next time you send a mail – why you are choosing e-mail as your communication tool.
So I’ve been off the blog for a bit. Not because I’m working too much –or I stopped caring about this because I left my corporate perch, quite the opposite. I’ve been on the down low because I’ve been wrestling with how to blog about work life balance and create a program for balance at the same time without making this blog sound like a marketing mouth piece for my business.
So I stopped posting until I got comfortable with how to write about the journey, not the program, and still produce some hopefully relevant observations to ponder.
I’m collecting lots and lots of observations on the subject. It might be because I’ve been interviewing people on the subject nonstop for the last 2 months, regardless – I’m seeing many things. When people discover what I’m working on – they have thoughts to share – deep, intimate thoughts rooted in emotional struggle and difficult choices they’ve had to make. I’m also finding that the people who have the fewest thoughts on the subject are the ones who need to talk about it the most.
I spoke to a room full of people a few months back on some simple principles around creating boundaries for balance – at one point in my presentation I thought a few of the women in the room were going to cry – and I thought – holy shit – this is big – people want to know they are not alone and they want a forum where it’s ok to admit – they can’t do it all. It was an incredibly powerful moment – a moment I realized I have a new level of responsibility with developing this program. I feel a greater sense of responsibility for the authenticity in what I’m saying and doing and am driving hard to create an opportunity for others to be real with themselves and create a new future that is different from the past.