Life Balance: What Is It?

by David B. Bohl

You’ve probably heard the term “life balance”, and maybe you’ve had a nagging feeling about it… like that maybe it applies to you. Perhaps you suspect your life might be out of balance, but you don’t really know for sure.

So first off, let’s make sure we define our terms. What is life balance?

It’s actually easier to tell you what it is NOT. It isn’t a formula, nor is it an automatic 50/50 equilibrium between work and private life.

You can’t simply define it as spending 8 hours each and every day at work, another 8 hours on personal things, and the remaining 8 on sleep.

Life balance is NOT…

• A perfect target that you hit.
• Something you level off at.
• A static outcome.

Life balance changes over time, depending on external and internal factors, particularly at the different stages in your life. It isn’t constant. It isn’t a destination – it’s a journey.

Life happens. It sometimes swings like a pendulum. If your goal is constant balance and happiness, you’ll be disappointed.

So just what exactly is life balance? Well, it’s personal – you have the chance to define it for yourself, and you should.

Just to give you some examples, here are some of the ways in which a few other people define life balance. Bear in mind that your definition may vary:

Many people include flexibility and sustainability in their definitions of life balance.

Others talk about achievement and enjoyment.

Others aspire to creating meaningful daily enjoyment and fulfillment in work, family, friends, and self.

In a 2003 article entitled “A Balanced Worklife: A Matter of Maintenance”, author Jaques Limoges says that work-life balance is “primarily a matter of deciding when to hold on and when to let go.”

The simple fact is this: life balance is whatever you define it to be.

The important thing is that you should realize that you have a choice in the matter. If you’re a 25-year-old software developer and you thrive on 80-hour-weeks and late-night delivered pizza eaten in front of your monitor at work, and you’re happy, then great. On the other hand, if you’re a 45-year-old married-with-children engineer who’s being forced to work 60 hours a week and you resent it because you’d much rather scale back to 40 hours a week and spend more time with your family, then you need to take steps to change things.

You can choose to be a workaholic or prisoner of success in your career and have little time for your private lives, living in a constantly exhausted state and feeling overburdened at work and at home…

Or you can be satisfied at work and dream of a better career and life. It’s up to you. You can feel guilty about never being able to recapture the time you’re sacrificing today to get ahead, and you can run from this thing to that, coming up for air every so often.


You can integrate your life. You can create a lifestyle – choose a life – that is balanced – one that you actually want.

  • Step back and objectively look at what’s going on in your life.
  • Define what a balanced life looks like to you.
  • Determine what’s most important to you and find ways to attain those things.

The goal is to create a lifestyle that you want so that it doesn’t require all of your energy and effort to maintain that balance.

I truly believe that not only does each of us have the ability to create the lives that we truly desire; everything we need to live that life is already inherent within each of us.

Slow Down FAST

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