Whether it’s high school, college, or life you’ll have a million and one things to do at the same time and the only way you can stay sane is to learn to balance everything. This is a virtue I treasure because it took a lot of trial and error to learn how to balance school and life but after being an RA I learned how to do it, and quite effectively if I do say so myself. BUT recently my friend Mariah had to throw a wrench in the mix and tell me about work-life blending and everything I knew was flipped upside down. So today I want to discuss the difference between the two and give you my verdict on which I would use.
This is the most common answer most people give employers and friends when asked, “You’re so busy all the time, how do you find the time to…?” and most people would answer with well organized work-life balance. It even has its own Wikipedia page, but what does that really mean?
Let’s look at a scale as an example, an instrument to weigh and balance objects. On one side you can put work and on the other side life and perhaps they’ll even out, which is what people strive for. So when people say they’re balancing work and life they literally mean they go to work, leave it there, and then go home to live their lives and do the things they would’ve rather been doing instead of work and even out the time.
Sounds pretty basic, find the happy medium, call it good, now what is work-like blending?
The less common phrase to most people and I just heard about it two days ago. Yet there have been articles like this one from the Huffington Post from two years ago promoting it in your life.
I’m a very visual person so let’s do another example! How about a blender?! Imagine you’re loading up the blender and your two ingredients are work and life and then you press frappe. (Why frappe? Because it’s a fun word and I want to add a little flair here and there.)
So now you’re left with a mixture of work and life, make sense? Not entirely? Okay, let’s compare the two and I’ll give my verdict.
Which is Best?
As a person who strove for work-life balance most of his life, and after learning about work-life blending, I believe blending is the way to go. Why? Let’s use our images again!
I think my biggest problem, after thinking about the images, is the scale itself. Just look at it, work and life are physically separated. Because they aren’t mixed, life can sit there and look at work and grow more bitter by the day. Additionally, it may not always be easy to achieve balance if you start to resent your work. If that happens it takes its toll on your personal life because it saps the energy out of you and suddenly that work side of the scale weighs significantly more than the life side. Not so much balance there.
Let’s contrast that with the blender. Here you can see work and life are mixed together and when you do find a good mix of the two the joy you receive from one rubs off onto the other. Work should never be something you do to just do it, it should be something that enhances your life and brings you joy doing and when you view it not as work anymore but fun it becomes a part of your life.
A side note: a scale isn’t much fun unless you’re a banker, I’m a Libra and I don’t find it that fascinating, but look at the blender! Have you ever seen these videos? Behold the power of the blender! Okay, rant over.
Here are a few tips to incorporate blending into your life, they are described in depth in the Huffington Post article from earlier but here are the cliff notes:
1. Identify what your values are in life
2. Build your work around those values
3. Adjust on a regular basis
Notice how I said a “mixture” of work and life earlier, not a solution (My science-nerd friends get this) A mixture has visible components and can easily be separated such as salsa and this is so you can re-evaluate your life goals and realign them with work to ensure blending doesn’t turn into workaholism.
It is my belief nothing should ever come in your way of enjoying life, but work can’t be ignored either. It should be everyone’s goal to find work that brings them joy to go to every day and doesn’t make you put your life on hold. If this isn’t the case I suggest you take a closer look at your work-life blending.
I like to believe I do this with this blog. I value being a service to other people and I created this blog so I could help college-aged students or any other readers with their problems. As some of you may have noticed I do frequently adjust my posts depending on what the week looks like or current events and because that’s my life. I enjoy writing the blog and helping people and the feeling I get when I write on here spills over to the rest of my life.
So give it a try, you may just like it and find a new outlook on life.