The Work-Life Balance Debate

© Antony Rufus | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Antony Rufus | Dreamstime Stock Photos

My alarm rings, coffee is consumed, teeth get brushed, and I’m out the door for another 8-10 hour workday. The moment I my work day ends it’s off running errands, then dinner with a friend, and finally home to watch my favorite prime time television show before I climb into bed and set my alarm for the next day. As I lull off to sleep I ask myself the question, “how balanced was my day today?”

One topic that we hear about over and over again is the importance of work-life balance.

A 2012 study from the Society for Human Resources Management concluded the importance of work-life balance for overall job satisfaction of employees is steadily increasing. Approximately 46% of all employees rated having the flexibility to balance life and work was very important to their overall job satisfaction!

Kristi Hedges, a leadership coach, speaker, and author, wrote an article entitled “R.I.P. Work-Life Balance” on that spoke on the topic of work-life balance and whether or not improving it is the conversation we should be having.

Hedges argues that we need to shift the conversation from work-life balance to energy management venturing that, “you can have perfect work-life balance and a dead-end job that leaves you exhausted.” Energy management focuses more on creating balance amongst the areas of our lives that energize and inspire us even if that means working a few nights and weekends at our dream jobs.

As Hedges suggests, “Those who are able to lead inspired, engaging lives in various spheres – from work, to family, to personal well-being – have something greater than balance. They have fulfillment. Their life fits.”

So, which side of the debate are you on? Do we need more work-life balance or do we need to spend our time focused on managing the areas of our lives through energized inspiration?

The Institute believes in Hedges’ concept of energy management. By completing tasks in various areas of your life from a place of inspiration and enthusiasm, you can lead a more fulfilled life no matter how crazy or hectic it may be.

To get you started on finding that fulfillment we all are searching for in work-life balance complete this simple exercise (inspired by Hedge’s question 6 in her article) over the next week.

Step 1: Make a list of 3-5 things that are important to your overall happiness in the areas of work, relationships, and health.

Step 2: Identify how each item listed connects to your overall happiness.

Step 3: Choose one item for each area of your life (focusing on work, health, and happiness). [Select a total of 3 items]

Step 4: Each morning for at least one week, write down a goal, task, or activity that you will complete that day that supports you in each of these three areas and try your hardest to complete it!


This simple exercise provides a great starting point to begin recognizing those activities or daily tasks that bring you happiness and lead you to a fulfilled life. If it works for one week try for another! Share with us how you do!

And as Kristi Hedges says, “You may find that your ‘out-of-balance” life is very rewarding.”

By Bryan Banville, CAO & Provost of Institute for Mastering Success

2 responses to “The Work-Life Balance Debate”

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