Work‐Life Balance

April 27th, 2020

By: Darrell Schulz, COO/Principal

How many times have you heard somebody refer to the importance of “work‐life balance?” What does that mean anyway? With a quick Google search, you can find hundreds of well‐intended articles attempting to convey some wisdom in the balancing act between work and life. The thought is that when you reach the mythical state of having a work‐life balance, you are in perfect equilibrium with the demands of your personal life, professional life, and family life.

I believe the word “balance” is very misleading. It makes it seem like there is a three‐way balance scale between your personal, professional, and family lives, and every time you prioritize one thing it takes away from the other two. For example: Spending an extra couple of hours in the office comes at the sacrifice of my family and personal well‐being, or spending extra time exercising comes at the sacrifice of my career and family life.

Ever since I started at The Klabin Company, management never specifically opposed this standard theory of “work‐life balance,” but it always felt as though management had a different world view. It took me a long time to understand that The Klabin Company has always viewed the three areas of personal life, professional life, and family not as a balancing act that are independently beneficial, but as a Venn Diagram in which they are mutually beneficial.

I don’t know where many companies went wrong, but it seems to me that there can be a lot of unnecessary posturing that happens in the workplace. Employees tend to spend extra time in the office as a way to show others how hard they are working at the expense of their personal and family life. People can also spend extra time with their loved ones to make up for lost family time at the expense of their professional careers. I am sure everyone has heard the quote from Sam Ewing, “It’s not the hours you put in your work that counts, it’s the work you put in the hours.” If our days are not managed wisely, much of our day can disappear without making a significant investment in any one of the pots of personal, professional, or family. Imagine this for a second, what if when we were working, we actually worked? What if when we were with our families, we were actually present? And what if when we were exercising, we didn’t get distracted?

The “work‐life balance” is really about efficiency and simplicity. People talk about this balance like it is a pursuit for enlightenment. We live in a world that is full of distractions that are always trying to fight for our attention. Stay focused! Don’t worry about balancing your career and family. Worry about being present when you are at work and present when you are at home. If you are fully present in the moments of your personal, professional, and family life you will never have to play a balancing act. The truth is, they are all equally important, so pursue them all wholeheartedly. In the world lately, as most people are being forced to work from home, people’s true habits are coming to light. I will use the words distracted, inefficient, and complicated to describe people that seem to be struggling most with their “work‐life balance.” It is now more important than ever to stay focused,
efficient and simple to find purpose.

If a person has purpose, and they know how to pursue that purpose, it will ultimately lead to their personal success and the success of their company or organization.