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Why Work-Life Balance Is Outdated and What to Go for Instead

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After a period of time of being in the workforce, you begin to hear about this idea of work-life balance. On paper, it’s a smart idea – you’re keeping your work separate from your own personal time. And while that was something I strived for, I realized how wrong this pursuit was after some time. That humble pursuit of striking a balance between work and life ended with me being in a bad spot. Beyond personal experiences, I find the pursuit of this idea still outdated and there are significantly better things to pursue. Here is what I suggest.

Work-Life Balance Causes You To Sacrifice A Lot

First off, why is striving towards a work-life balance such a bad idea? Well it’s a bad idea mostly due to how people think a balanced work and life ought to be. When you think of striking a balance between the two, you’d think automatically that both sides have to be good. You want a positive life just as much as you want work to be positive as well. On top of that, you want your personal and work lives to be separate.

Striving for that way of thinking is impossible from my experiences. I’ve seen plenty of results from people at various levels of happiness in their work life taking our Full Life Assessment at Lifehack, and have received some predictable results after taking our courses at the Lifehack Academy.

If people are really happy with their work, other parts of their life are crumbling such as health, and relationships. If people are happy with life, what tends to be the problem is wealth and career satisfaction are lower. These sacrifices are too much and aren’t practical for people to live in them long-term.

The Alternative: Work Life Harmony 

This cycle of giving up on something in order to fulfil something doesn’t make any sense. From my own personal experiences, it’s a path that isn’t good for you long-term. Once I realized that, I began working on alternatives and options for what people can do.

Because not all jobs and life are satisfying and things we want to do constantly, I realized that our balance is more revolving around harmonizing both aspects. In my book The Full Life Framework (The Essential Guide), I talk about the importance of taking the good and the bad in various parts and balancing those.

Below are some recommendations I listed in my book for obtaining work life harmony:

1. Rethink Time Management

First is to change your thinking about time management. We all have limited time here and so people are constantly telling us to make the most of it. But how do you really make the most of it? Should you try to eat up as much time of your day as you can doing many great things? Or should you try to do fewer things and really make them great?

It’s a quantity vs quality question when you first think about it. But what if I told you instead of wrestling with that you focus on prioritizing. Spend all your time on the actions that will lead to creating more valuable moments later on in life.

This idea isn’t anything new. It’s been around. But not many people have thought that much about this. I bet this is your first time even thinking about this. So I’d encourage you to look at that. Find the actions that will bring you more results.

“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” – Betsy Jacobson

2. Explore Your Passions

Another thing people tell us is to follow our passions. It’s not the greatest advice as we all have multiple passions and interests. And we can continue to foster new passions and interests over time as well. Instead of following passions blindly, I’d encourage you to consider them all. But first, look at what it is you’re currently doing in life. Is what you’re doing right now in life something you are truly passionate about? Is it possible for you to find a deeper meaning to what you are doing in your life? Ask yourself those questions before thinking about what other areas you can explore. Consider everything from what brings you joy and excitement and happiness. Are there particular industries that you’d love to be good at?

3. Don’t Be Scared Of Limitations

Creating work-life harmony is also about knowing yourself. This includes past obstacles as well as the limitations that you have placed on yourself. If you have an understanding of these things, you can become more resilient to them in the future. If you’ve never experienced struggles or problems, then you haven’t been made to adapt or mature in any way. In theory, you’d have faced obstacles by this point since they are such necessary parts of our lives. From there it’s a matter of overcoming these limitations. It’s about rewiring our thinking to see limitations as opportunities to grow and overcoming them can help us reach our goals. The more you reinforce that idea, the more resilient attitude you’ll develop when you’re faced with the inevitable setbacks and problems.

4. Delegate When Necessary

The last aspect to having work-life harmony is delegating tasks when it’s necessary. If you want to increase productivity and minimize time or effort spent on something, delegation is an easy method.

Whether it’s at work or at home, if you’re losing a lot of time on something that could be delegated, you’re losing precious time. Again, the goal is to have a harmonious work and living situation and find meaning in everything that we’re doing.

Even if an overall goal could be meaningful doesn’t mean that the milestones you’re setting automatically are. We all have strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. If one part of something bothers you or takes up a lot of time, find someone who loves doing that part.

True balance in work and life shouldn’t be about sacrificing one thing over another. It should be about working through the bad and enjoying the good. Obtaining some level of harmony with your life and work is more rewarding and fulfilling in the end. And by going through those steps, you’ll find it easier to achieve that.

Having been listed as Business Week's #4 "Top 24 Young Asian Entrepreneurs," Leon Ho is the Founder and CEO of Lifehack - a productivity blog he started in 2005. He has grown Lifehack into one of the most read self-improvement websites in the world - with over 12 million monthly readers. Grab his latest book The Full Life Essential Guide here.

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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Life

How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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Life

5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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