I was wondering one afternoon why work-life balance has become such an issue in our modern lives. The answer is actually very simple: changes in the way work is done now blurs the lines between work and non-work time.
Back In the Day
Starting with the industrial revolution, work began to be done in workplaces, mainly factories. Workers would go to the factory, perform their tasks, and go home. You simply couldn’t take work home with you: the machines necessary stayed at the factory. So when you were done with your shift of riveting airplanes, manufacturing cars or rolling paper, you could go home and leave work behind.
The Current Era
Today, thanks to the multitude of electronic devices such as cell phones, wireless internet, Blackberries and such, we are never out of touch. We can work in the local coffee shop, at a soccer game, or at home. And this access is causing the lines to blur.
How To Get the Balance Back
In the past, the line between work and personal lives was drawn for us by our job situation. Now the line is no longer external; it must be determined and enforced by our internal guidelines.
Simply put, it is up to us to say “No.” We are the ones who must say that we will not work during family time. We must be the ones to draw the line, and explain that it cannot be crossed.
Competition out there might not draw the line; but ultimately would you rather be a rat in the race, or someone with a life?
Photo by Benimoto