I found a TED talk on what’s commonly called “Work/Life Balance” by Nigel Marsh. I think the use of work/life inplies a conflict and separation where none should exist. Work is part of the experience of living so work’s woven into the process of becoming who we are, not entered into as a separate state.
Nigel’s advice can be summarized as “Monitor the process becoming who you are and aim to be engaged with and connected to multiple experiences”. If living is about the process of becoming, it makes sense to avoid “lock-in” so becoming who you are is as rich an experience as it can be.
He makes four points about how to achieve balance.
- Some job choices leave no time for proper attention to marriage and children. Confusion of wants with needs leads to working for money, not joyful experience.
- The problem is within us, so we can’t look for a solution outside ourselves. We are responsible for the experiences we choose, work being one of our choices. Your company will not/does not concern itself with how work is experienced by you.
- Measuring balance requires a time frame for the accounting as does balancing the books in finance. We don’t balance them every minute nor every five years. Choosing the time frame avoids anxiety (too short) and regret (too long).
- Approach the goal of achieving balance in a balanced way. Intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical and sexual activities require proper attention, time and contemplation. They are not well served by multi-tasking. Full attention to each in the proper place and time creates the balance of experience that results in a fulfilling process of becoming who you are.
Nigel’s final point is about a deep subject, measurement. He says what we choose to measure changes what we become.
The powerful effect of measurement on what is known is elegantly stated at the quantum level by the Hiesenberg Uncertainty Priniciple. The reality of a particle is unknown until you measure it at which time it “becomes” what you measure. If you measure position, you miss out on knowing the momentum and vice versa. When you change what you measure you directly change the reality of the particle you experience.
This principle seems to apply to people and the process of becoming as much as it does to electrons. Make your measurements balanced and the life you live will balance itself.