April 23, 2014

Management Excellence & Work/Life Synthesis

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Work and life are not two opposing forces that are constantly trying to pull against each other in some sort of eternal tug-of-way.  They are parts of the same whole: the person that creates them both.  A constant struggle between the two only slowly tears the host apart.

After all, work is a part of your life, and what you can accomplish in your life is determined by the work that you perform.  The two are inseparable, not because they balance each other, but because they are one and the same.  The Head or Tail side of a coin does not balance the coin – they are the basic structures that make the coin what it is.

Work is seen as the negative, the darkness, the difficult thing that we must struggle with that is offset by Life –the good, positive, bright aspects of our existence that we work to create, and that make our time spent at work tolerable.  Isn’t this thinking completely off-kilter?  Has no one ever had a good day at work that made everything seem worthwhile, or a tough time at home that brought us nothing but despair?  When you have a good day at home, is work made better?  How about a good day at work – does that make the troubles at home easier to take?  Of course they do, because our existence is a complex mixture of thoughts and emotion, regardless of where they take place.

Work/Life balance also supposes that the two concepts need to be distinct.  People who enjoy their work and the achievements it brings are criticized for being “out of balance.”  Those who sacrifice career ambitions in order to focus on family or simply a lower stress level are seen as either noble, or lazy, depending on who is judging.  The fact of the matter is, however, that even the extremes represents the arrival at a synthesis of the emotions, thoughts and energies necessary for an organism to thrive.  “Balance” necessitates that the elements are equal.  Synthesis suggests only that the elements are unified.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of synthesis is: ”the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity”

In this respect, the natural state of work and life is to be synthesized.  It is only through our constant, perceived need to keep them separate that we create difficulty for ourselves.  Are you not a single, unified entity?  Is there any one thing in your life that does not impact all the others?  Of course not.  Attempting to keep “Work” and “life” as two distinct, separate elements that simply balance each other only leads to friction.  That friction is not caused by trying to rub two individual elements together until they meld into some sort of whole, but from trying to take something that is already whole and twist it and turn it until we pull its elements apart.  Isn’t this the literal definition of “strain?”

I’ve come to discover that are many people who share similar feelings on the subjects of work and life, and that many of them have chosen to do something about it.  Their passions revolve around creating less aggravating, more profitable, and easier to deal with workplaces – for the sake of making life for everyone, as a whole, better.  What many of these folks have also come to realize is, as you discover ways of managing work better, you can also apply those principles to managing your life better – which is intuitive, since if we believe the whole person (ourselves and others) is what we’re dealing with, then good habits in any arena are also good habits in another.  Similarly, successes in “life” are applicable at “work,” too – making all things we experience as complete people more enjoyable, rewarding, and productive.

With these thoughts in mind, I decided to shake things up around here in order to add the thoughts of others who have something to say about improving the way we go about all aspects of what we do as workers, managers, parents, educators, students or…..more simply put….as people.

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