October 7, 2015 — You didn’t hear your alarm go off and woke up late for work. You’re scrambling to get your first grader ready for school, feed the dog, reschedule a meeting with an important client, and get your recycling out to the curb, when your babysitter calls—he’s sick and won’t be able to care for your toddler today. And it’s only Monday.
You don’t need to have children or a dog or even a 9-to-5 job to recognize this kind of daily scramble. We all have multiple priorities and demands on our time. Given the realities of our busy lives, many of us are trying to achieve work-life “balance.” But it’s time to give up balance, once and for all! “Balance” implies an either/or relationship between different aspects of our lives, and the need to strive for constant equilibrium between work and personal life. As anyone who’s tried it can attest, devoting equal time to each of these domains every day is rarely possible—or desirable.
Rather, let’s focus on effectiveness: accepting that both our professional and personal lives are priorities, but that they usually can’t be given equal attention at the same time. One way to increase effectiveness is through workplace flexibility. When viewed as a business strategy and not an accommodation for some employees, a culture that supports flexibility can go a long way toward creating more effective—and inclusive—workplaces.
Learn more about going beyond “balance” by registering for Catalyst’s new edX course, Inclusive Leadership Training: Maximizing Work-Life for Your Success.
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