Considering a Work Life Collage

5 years ago

(Note: This post first appeared on the Covert Leadership blog... it has been edited slightly for BlogHer. Read the original here.) 

Let's ditch the term Work Life Balance!

It implies some sort of scale with a lump of "work" on one side and a lump of "life" on the other, and that the two cannot mix.

I'm suggesting an idea that better represents modern work and modern life — where we are connected to both parts nearly 24/7. How about a Work Life Collage where pieces of  ”work” and “life” fit together in an enriching way, making something beautiful.

Call me lazy or call me smart… but this is how I think about it: Merging parts of your life into one “project” or goal will make that goal a better “product” and your process in getting there more enriching.

The first time I employed this idea was in college. Two of the courses I was taking required fairly major term paper projects. One was an urban design course, and the other was an art/architectural history symposium covering the 1960′s. Hmm… it wasn’t that hard to think of a common subject. The result was two extremely well-researched papers on the building of a freeway in a major metropolitan area in the early 60′s. (It was painstaking work back in the days of microfiche.)

Chances are, your life and your work have threads in common that you can exploit — you just have to find them. And try not to be afraid or ashamed of it!  The idea of mixing up work and life — and really liking them both — is quite foreign to some people… like when I took an encaustic painting workshop and the instructor called my choice of subject matter (process documents for my projects) “surprising”.

It didn’t occur to me that this melding of my work, my life and my art would be perceived as anything other than completely natural.

What about you?
Do you think of work and life as separate, or integrated? Do you think one view has advantages over the other? Why?

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