As we've discussed before on The Wireboard, work-life balance is crucial to productivity, satisfaction with our work and overall health. But what are some innovative ways to think about work-life balance? And how can we start making changes to maintain or improve balance?
Enter the following five talks from TED. Each one contains wonderful insights about the nature of work-life balance as well as cues for how to improve in this area.
Four realities we must embrace to improve work-life balance
Nigel Marsh is the author of Fat, Forty and Fired. As he recounts in this talk, “I was eating too much. I was drinking too much. I was working too hard, and I was neglecting my family.” After making some radical changes to the way he approached work-life balance, and taking years to test his approaches, he’s come out on the other side with some wonderful observations and recommendations for improving work-life balance.
Designing your life
Sometimes, our problems with balancing work and life come down to “getting stuck.” But as Stanford’s Bill Burnett shares, there’s a difference between feeling stuck and actually being stuck. And in either case, he and his collaborators at Stanford’s d.School have uncovered a number of proven strategies for designing a life where your work and life are not only balanced, but creatively support one another to create a meaningful life.
“Can we have it all?”
Usually, when people ask this question, they’re asking whether it’s possible to be fulfilled both at work and at home. Just as usually, this question is gendered with the assumption that men are disinterested in home life and women belong in the home. Anne-Marie Slaughter is in a unique position to answer this question as she helped shape public policy related to workforce gender equality and workforce flexibility with the U.S. State Department. But she also shares her story as a highly accomplished professional who went through her own struggles of work and family life balance even as she sought to make changes to how America publicly engages with these issues.
How we define “success” shapes work-life balance
Alain de Botton is a philosopher and author focused on the way various philosophies can influence the everyday lives of people. He says "In the modern world, it’s perhaps easier than it ever has been historically to make a good living. It’s perhaps harder to than ever before to be free of anxiety in our careers." In this humorous, insightful TED Talk at Oxford, Alain shares the demographic data of people who are labelled as “losers” in the developed world. And he makes a compelling argument that much of the suffering we experience in our work stems from unhelpful beliefs we have about what “success” is and how we achieve it.
“You have 168 hours every week”
Laura Vanderkam studies how people spend time. But she has a special interest in how executives and industry top-performers spend their time differently than others. In this TED Talk, she shares a few common themes she sees in those people who see time as an elastic thing that they can shape to lead the lives they want.
If you'd like even more information and ideas to maintain or improve balance in your work and personal life, check out our free "Busy Person's Guide to Work-Life Balance."