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Kelly's Tonic for Realigning Work and Life with the Reality of the Human Experience
on September 15, 2011
Over the past twenty-five years, there has been substantial increase in burnout due to overwork and increased stress. Workplace violence, absenteeism, and rising workers' compensation claims are used as evidence of an unhealthy work life balance. A Center for Work-Life Policy (CWLP), a "think tank," has even been created to study and research the problem of work-life balance. In one study, they found "seventy percent of US respondents and eighty-one percent of global respondents say their jobs are affecting their health."
In "Off Balance," best selling author and national acclaimed speaker, Matthew Kelly, turns the subject upside down (not just off balance) and reframes the discussion with challenging questions about the role that work plays in our life and why we should discard the theme "work-life balance" in favor of "work-life effectiveness" which results in what we all seek, the experience of satisfaction.
The popular press has conditioned us to think about "work-life balance" in a self-defeating way as they have compartmentalized work and life, setting them against one another...equating "balance" to working less. These cannot be separated.
Work is a necessary part of life and, despite popular efforts to do so, it cannot be left to stand by itself. Reality has taught us that what happens at home will affect us at work (a new baby, deaths, divorce) and what happens at work will affect us at home (promotion, termination, plant closures). Rather, a better approach would be integrating the two... and achieving "work-life effectiveness."
Kelly found that "If you ask people why they want work-life balance, they talk about things that have little or nothing to do with balance. They talk about dynamic relationships, fulfilling careers, challenging projects that engage their talents, opportunities to grow as a whole person, and pursuing their personal and professional dreams. Work-life balance as a term has become a catch-all."
Kelly's observations have led to his recommendation that we focus on achieving personal and professional satisfaction, not balance. This requires understanding what personal and professional satisfaction means to each of us; defining our dreams; assessing and categorizing our values and principles; prioritization of what is truly important for us to "become the best-version-of-yourself"; assessing where we are today; developing a system that facilitates personal accountability: and periodic reviews. In "Off Balance," Kelly provides the how: tips, templates, and self-revealing questions for each.
Kelly points out the few people have the requisite self-knowledge to set things right to experience a satisfaction filled life...and even fewer, if any, companies know how to help. "Off-Balance" is Kelly's contribution to filling this vacuum. Individuals who work at this will learn to live lives filled with satisfaction and enlightened companies who foster this will have an edge in attracting and retaining the best talent.
"Off Balance" expertly reframes the discussion of work and life and will be a tonic for those trying to align the need for satisfaction with the realities of work and life.