Do Men Overvalue WORK-Balance and Undervalue LIFE-Balance?

David Zinczenko, Editor in Chief of Men’s Health magazine, has some interesting thoughts on this very question in an article titled “Why Do Men Spend So Much Time At Their Jobs”.

In a nutshell, Mr. Zinczenko explains in a different and more lighthearted way what I’ve written about in my article: Work-Life Balance for Men.

Here’s an excerpt from my article:

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Fathers Work Towards Work-Family Balance

According to the same study mentioned in yesterday’s post, fathers have just about tripled the hours that they spend being attentive to their children in the last 40 years (from 2.5 hours per week in 1965 to 7 hours today).

William Doherty, professor of family studies at the University of Minnesota, commented in the washingtonpost.com that “It’s not the case that men are slugs.”

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Life Balance for Today’s Mothers

A recently released University of Maryland study conducted by Suzanne M. Bianchi, Chairwoman of the Department of Sociology, today’s mothers spend more hours focused on their children than mothers of40 years ago did.

What is especially interesting about this is that mothers of today don’t perceive things that way: Approximately one-half of those interviewed in the study felt that they did not have enough time to spend with their children.

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Profiles of Women Entrepreneurs

The Winter 2007 edition of Business Week magazine’s Small Business edition features women who have fled flourishing corporate careers to pursue opportunities as entrepreneurs.

This Time It’s Mine: Why high-powered women are leaving Corporate America to become entrepreneurs profiles 18 corporate women and draws a picture for us of them “then and now.”

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Legitimate Distractions Sidetrack Work-Life Balance

I had the opportunity this past weekend to participate in an event that showcased 150 of the local community’s businesses. I met many wonderful people at the show, and for the first time had the occasion to meet husbands and wives attending the venue together.

There was a common theme that seemed to resonate throughout: These partners weren’t satisfied with the balance they were experiencing in their lives. Moreover, there appeared to be a general breakdown in communication between the couples. In fact, legitimate distractions had caused them in many cases to avoid communicating.

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Daily Conventions for Life Balance

One of the things I learned some time ago was that to achieve balance, I need to take action.

Toward that end, I set up a simple system of daily conventions: some simple habits and routines to practice every day to help me achieve the goals that I had prioritized.

One thing that I do every day is to phone a friend.

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Temporarily Stop Multitasking to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Every once in a while, I need a reminder. Today, it came in the form of a great piece from Margaret Heffernan at FastCompany.com that I had read some time ago and resurrected today.

Margaret had placed a half-hour time block on her calendar every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that was permanent- it couldn’t be moved or rescheduled. Ms. Heffernan would walk out her office door and take time for herself. She called it “my thinking time.”

What she found is that we’ve gotten so accustomed to multitasking that we have forgotten how to
single task: to give our full attention and presence to just one thing – ourselves, a partner, a child, a family member, a friend, a colleague.

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Extreme Jobs and Work Life Balance

Last December the Center for Work-Life Policy released a report that ran in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review titled: “Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek.” The study characterized workers as “extreme” if they involved long hours (thus the 70 hour workweek mentioned in the title) and 5 categories of pressure relating to job performance.

Main factors attributed to extreme jobs are globalization, Blackberries, and Type A personalities. The study lists two huge personal costs of these jobs: Almost 60% of these workers beleieve their career undermines their relationship with their children. Additionally, 50% say their work interferes with their sex lives.

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Kudos to Youngentrepreneur

In my blog post of March 12th: “Tips for Entrepreneurs” I shared with you the story of a couple of entrepreneurs from a post from the Youngentrepreneur blog. The brothers Torrens – Mathew and Adam – had offered up 5 tips for start-up entrepreneurs that could easily serve as guidelines for most anything we attempt to accomplish in life.

Their third suggestion: “Find a mentor”, is something that more and more of us are realizing the benefits of doing, but, realistically and practically, many more of us simply can’t bring ourselves to do or simply don’t make the time for.

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Work-Life Balance for Empty Nesters

My wife and I became empty-nesters last August when our youngest went off to college, and we’ve been adjusting our balance ever since.

Not being one to always want to have to reinvent the wheel, I asked several friends who had been through this chapter in their lives to share with me what it was like for them and what they had learned. Although the range of experiences was huge, I did garner two consensus opinions: First, that things were strange for a while. Second, that it was a wonderful time for all.

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March Madness and Work-Life Balance

There’s something about this time of the year that make things very intense, and I don’t mean the wonderful excitement surrounding the NCAA’s college basketball tournament.

Is is just me, or does it seem that most everyone is stretched at this time of the year? Maybe it has something to do with tax time for individuals and businesses.

Possibly it concerns the sheer number of conventions and trade shows that occur between now and the middle of May. Maybe it’s related to the earlier daylight savings time change, spring breaks, the upcoming Easter holiday, and spring fever in general. Maybe it’s simply a cycle of the year in the world in which I operate.

I think the bigger concern we all have is that, because the world now operates at the speed of technology, is that the access we now enjoy to the outside world means that we’re within easy reach of those who wish to contact us no matter where we are and what we’re doing.

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Overtime vs Family Time

We’ve all been faced with this decision: Should I put in those extra hours in the evening or on the weekends to earn that additional money that will make my family more comfortable or allow us to purchase a few of those not-so-necessary items we’ve wanted?

Terry Cullen discusses that very topic in her Juggle blog in the Wall Street Journal Online. The problem she presents is deciding whether or not to accept offers of overtime for those who are employed and the inherent dilemmas regarding work family balance.

Those of us who are entrepreneurs, small business owners, self-employed, and/or freelance professionals know all too well the mental gymnastics we go through when faced with this issue.

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“Good-Enough” Work-Family Balance

Susan Burns offers an excellent guest post on Leslie Morgan Steiner’s Washington Post On Balance blog. This provides a real-life case study on what we’re all facing in some way: wondering whether or not we’re doing what’s right for all involved in our lives.

I applaud Ms. Burns for her taking a look at the external factors in her life – her job and commute, her husband’s job, her family. Now, I cannot possibly know exactly what her life is like, nor would I presume to offer advice without knowing much, much more. But, as a case study, it’s now time for her to examine the internal factors.

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What do you want to do?

I came across a post today that I had read a few months ago on Michelle Medley’s blog at Motto Magazine.

In her post, Ms. Medley shares her thoughts on the classic 1938 Oscar-winning film “You Can’t Take it With You” staring Lionel Barrymore.

There’s a scene in the movie where Barrymore walks into a bustling office, and, intrigued by a worker repeatedly pulling the arm of an adding machine, asks him what he’s doing.

The worker replies that he’s doing his job.

Barrymore asks if he likes what he’s doing.

The worker simply replies “no.”

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relinquishment and addiction
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