Work-Life Synergy?

The Working Mother magazine put together a list of 100 best companies – the family-friendliest companies in America.  Child care, family-friendly programs and flexibility are just 3 of the 7 areas of the companies’ work-life programs that were looked at.

Beyond Balance: How to Cultivate Work-Life Synergy in the Law is an article that was written by Lori and Arnie Herz. They illustrate what the work-life debate is all about. Some people want to know why all the fuss about work-life balance while others point out that it’s not so easy to ignore the signs that something is way off about life. The report was written geared towards the legal profession but you can insert your chosen profession where they say law, lawyer or legal.

I came across an interesting report written recently by Lori Herz and Arnie Herz over at Legal Sanity titled “BEYOND BALANCE: How to Cultivate Work-Life Synergy in the Law.”

The report is written about the legal profession, but please feel free to insert your chosen profession where you read the words ‘law’, lawyer’, and/or ‘legal.’ I believe their observations ring true for many of us.The authors illustrate what the work-life debate is all about:

“On one side, people ask: ‘Why all the fuss about work-life balance?’

They argue that sacrificing the personal to the professional is part and parcel of practicing law. The law is a hard and all-consuming enterprise. There’s just no way around it. You can talk all you want about balance, but in the end, it’s just an academic exercise and big waste of time.”

They continue:

“Then again, as many others point out, it’s not so easy to ignore the unmistakable signs that something is way off about life in the law as we know it.

Just like the natural environment around us, lawyers are suffering from energy drain and depletion. They’re losing vital life force.

Recent studies and statistics showing elevated levels of lawyer depression, ill-health, and stress aside, all you have to do is listen closely in a gathering of practitioners to know that a lot of them are:

  • Dissatisfied
  • Disengaged
  • Defecting … in droves

They might not be able to pinpoint or articulate what’s going on for them as the Dallas law firm of Eberstein Witherite has pointed out in a recent study that shows that these lawyers know that their work-life connection is definitely out of sync.”

Work-life balance is indeed a huge issue. The real problems lie in defining what life balance is and attaining it.

Lori Herz and Arnie Herz argue that using the term “work-life synergy” is more appropriate because “The synergy comes from joining our work and off-work time with a common thread of meaning.”

Their suggestion works for me. The most important aspects of any definition is that life balance/synergy is whatever you define it to be and that you have absolute choice in the matter.

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 that doesn’t require all of your energy and effort to maintain that balance/synergy.

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