Exploring the mystery of work ”“ life balance

May 12, 2010

How you can overcome the struggle of the work-life balance

Work-life balance is a common topic for discussion. Many people feel guilty when they are at work because they are not attending to their personal life. And when they are attending to their personal life, they feel guilty for not being at work. The good old Blackberry and other similar communication tools further increase the problem because many people are never fully present at home. For example during family time you can send e mails taking your attention away from home life. During work time you can easily get distracted as well with personal communication, facebook etc and as result are not fully focussed. The result: Guilt all round and a less than optimal experience in both scenarios.

People often complain about how much work they have to do in their own time. It’s an odd statement if you think about it ”“ surely it’s all their own time?

Somewhere along the way, these two areas of their life have become split into separate parts, which now conflict with one another. Having them as two separate co-existing parts can be quite an effective way of living on the premise there is no conflict. The premise is when you are at work you are at work and when you are home you are at home. If anyone observed you in these two parts from the outside they might be surprised and comment ‘you are like two different people’. The important aspect here there is work/life balance and no conflict.

The other way of looking at the work life balance challenge is not to have two distinct parts but to operate from an integrated self where you behave differently in each context but the core qualities of self remain the same. If this sounds appealing to you the rest of this article will give you some ideas on how to do this.

Firstly consider how you behave at work and how you behave at home. For now if you can think of these as two selfs as two parts, what label would you ascribe to each one and what imagery comes to mind when you think of each part.

Let’s address the part associated with business first; if it had a positive intention, what would the intention be?  Now you’ve answered that question, what does it get if its intention is fulfilled? And if it got that, what would it get from having it? And in turn, what does that give it? We call this ‘chunking up’; keep finding answers to these questions until you begin to reach abstract answers ”“ people often find themselves saying things like happiness, fulfilment, enjoyment.

Now let’s address the part associated with home life. What is this part’s intention? And if it got that, what would it get from having it? Chunk up the questions again as you did before.

It’s likely you’ll find both these parts of you that so often conflict with each other actually want pretty much the same thing. No surprise really, since they are all part of the same you, after all.

So how can you get them to work together more effectively? Consider what these two parts would like if they were one.

Let’s explore how these two parts can work together as one. Go back to your “business self”; what skills, qualities and resources does your “business self” have that it could lend to an integrated self. How would that be? And over to your “home self”; what skills, qualities and resources does your “home self” have that it can bring to the integrated self. With these qualities your “business self” could benefit from? What difference would that make?
Wouldn’t it be so much better if these two parts could work together as a whole, instead of antagonising one another as separate parts? Imagine if your “business self” and your “personal self” came together, pooling and sharing their collective resources, qualities and skills. How would that benefit you?  Can you now see and experience these two as one.

Could you begin to generate ideas on how you can re-integrate these different parts of you back into your life as a whole, and how you can choose to do things differently, with access to all of these shared resources, all of the time? Even slight changes can have a huge impact. Imagine the future working with you as a whole. How much more constructive can you be in all areas of your life?

The above is written description of what we call parts integration in NLP. There are many ways of working and bringing together conflicting parts. It also works for many people to create a team, so each part has its own function and does conflict with its counterpart that is operating well in another area of life. Remember NLP is about self application is creating personal alignment.

Think about just what you can achieve when all of you is working to the same goal at once, and realising it’s all your own time. When you remember it’s all your own time, you can choose to spend it wisely to fulfil all of your business and personal objectives.

About The Author

This article was written by Michael Carroll and Helen Doyle.

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