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Work-Life Balance: It's Really About Satisfaction
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Work-Life Balance: It's Really About Satisfaction - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: It's Really About Satisfaction

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: It's Really About Satisfaction

The very term “work-life balance” implies that work is not part of life. Since the average person spends more time working than doing any other one thing, it should be no surprise that nobody seems to have balance. Balance equates to working less, according to Matthew Kelly’s Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction (Penguin, 2011). Kelly points out that the term “diminishes our ability to make the case that work can be a richly rewarding part of a person’s life and should in many ways be personal.

It’s not balance people want anyway, says Kelly. What people really want is satisfaction, and satisfaction is more than a matter of mere balance. It requires a strategy, daily attention, self-awareness, and discipline. Applying many practices of satisfaction in business to other areas of life can result in the satisfaction people want without the guilt that often comes from imbalance or the pressure of maintaining tenuous balance.

Attaining satisfaction starts first with understanding your dissatisfaction, then understanding the costs that come with pursuing satisfaction. Whether the cost is in hours or effort (and it is likely to be both), Kelly highlights the fact that if the result is your personal satisfaction, it is a price you will be happy to pay. However, the trick is in understanding what one finds satisfying.

Unlike Teresa A. Taylor, whose The Balance: Rethinking Work-Life Success is mostly a practical, anecdotal look at one executive’s experience managing the layers of her life and career, Kelly approaches work-life integration from a more philosophical angle. Understanding first that satisfaction is not merely getting what one wants, he guides the reader through an examination of priorities and values, and then leads the reader to a concept of time management AND energy management as well. We all have relationships that take energy from us, and we all have relationships that enervate us, says Kelly, and managing those relationships is crucial in finding satisfaction.

Finally, in a more traditional self-help style, Kelly offers practical advice for managing all of one’s life effectively, as an executive might manage a company: establishing a system of assessment, priorities, core habits, weekly strategy sessions, and quarterly reviews can, over time, lead to personal satisfaction the way it often leads to professional satisfaction, which leads to a more rewarding life all around.

 

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Work-Life Balance: It's Really About Satisfaction - Executive Leadership Articles

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