Work Life Balance? What is it?

Is work life balance an illusive myth, a misnomer or a reality that can be achieved?


In his book, Be A Better Leader, Have A Richer Life, Wharton professor Stewart Friedman suggests that the term “work life balance” is flawed because it reflects an element of trade-offs between work and life. The authors of the Harvard Business Review on Work and Life Balance think that managers who see that a gain in life priorities as an expense on work priorities are short-sighted and are a disadvantage to their corporate mandate.

How do you define work life balance? Is it long hours at the office, work or life? Consider the sleepless nights of a mother caring for her newborn; is this work or life? If you take the afternoon out for a round of golf with a friend, is this work or life? Now, If you replace the friend with client, is this work or life?

While we can not abandon the concept of work life balance, the challenge we must face is that of imbalanced, overloaded lives that need to be calibrated and focused to become most effective.


Whether at work or play life is a series of inputs and outputs. There are things, activities or people that energize and nourish us. On the other hand, there are others that make withdrawals that if not controlled leave us exhausted and less effective.

Here are simple questions you may consider:

  • How are your life Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, and Financial Life bank? On a scale of 1 – 5, five being perfect, how do your rate your present state?
  • If reasonable changes were made what would your scores be?
  • What are the reasonable changes you wish YOU COULD make that would lead to improved scores?
  • What are the options that would empower you to make these changes?

Working with clients large and small, I can assure you that:

  • You are more empowered to make changes than you think you are.
  • Life is highly collaborative. Changes you make to be more focused and effective will have ripple effects that benefit others as well.
  • If your calendar is run by the unrealistic demands of draining people, I remind you that

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandburg (1878 – 1967)

How are you? How do you gauge your effectiveness and overload scores? For a limited time we are glad to offer you a complimentary Effectiveness and Overload Gauge™. Please go to, When there use project code EL0211.

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