Blurring the Work/Life Balance Line

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For the past decade, it seems to have been the most talked about buzz-phrase in peoples’ careers: work/life balance. We all strive to strike the proper balance between giving everything we can in our careers, while not neglecting our personal lives outside or work. Seems easy enough, right? WRONG.

Since American economic woes ramped up in 2008 it seems the balance between work and life has been heavily shifting to work. It does not come as a surprise that so many people are just thankful to have a job while the unemployment rate hovers near eight percent. And today’s technology only blurs the line between work and life further. With smartphones, laptops, WiFi, and now, tablets, not only are we able to work from any place at any time, we almost find ourselves wanting to. Just yesterday I found myself answering emails while at the gym, and feeling so proud of myself for becoming the ultimate multi-tasker!

I’m not sure how I should feel about this. Should I truly be proud that I can do a workout on an elliptical machine while answering work emails? Or should I be worried that this is a slippery slope to something worse, like emailing my employer while eating with my family, or worse, while on vacation? Where do you draw the line?

The simple answer is there is no simple answer. Each of us needs to place our own limits based on how connected we are with work when we’re not there, and what we’re comfortable handling past working hours. For this writer, it’s a little bit easier to glance at work emails on my iPhone while watching TV with my wife in the evening, or even getting ready for bed. But there are some times of the day when I don’t bother opening my laptop, or even looking at my phone. Those times are usually in the morning before I head to work, and for some time in the evening as well. If you have children, I’m sure many of you have carved out time in the morning and/or evening where that time is family time, and that is a great thing.

In a world where this line between work and home is continually being blurred, you need to do whatever you can to decompress, or else you are in for major hurt. So go unplug. Go for a run. Meet up with friends. Have a picnic. Go do whatever will make you happy…unless of course, that’s work.