Work-Life Balance

Drop the Ball coverLast week I couldn’t have told you what the topic for this column would be.  I was racing from one item to the next on my to-do list and hadn’t reached “write @ Your Library Column”.  Today it is top of the list, demanding my attention.  Fortunately, yesterday inspiration struck as I worked through the day’s list – shift DVDs and paperbacks so shelves can be rotated, discuss faulty door with maintenance, respond to e-mail correspondence, return missed phone calls, etc.  I was struggling with the balance of my work day, when an article appeared in my e-mail on work-life balance.  This led to a deep dive into our collection looking for books on the subject to share here.

The first book I came across was Drop the Ball:  Achieving More by Doing Less by Tiffany Dufu.  The title immediately caught my attention although Dufu was unfamiliar to me.  I was further drawn in by her definition of drop(ping) the ball:  “to release unrealistic expectations of doing it all and engage others to achieve what matters most to us, deepening our relationships and enriching our lives.”  Very different from the standard dictionary definitions and it gives an indication of how Dufu will answer the question “how do you manage it all?”

Overwhelmed coverWhere Dufu provides her answer through memoir, Brigid Schulte takes a different approach in Overwhelmed:  Work, Love, and Play When No One has The Time.  She researches the time pressure people are feeling in modern life and draws on her own experiences.  Overwhelmed is a delightful balance between the research on our busy lives and the author’s personal experience.

The words overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and the like all come up in descriptions of books on work life balance.  Tony Crabbe provides us with tools to manage these feelings in Busy:  How to Thrive in a World of Too Much.  He specifically outlines how we have to both do things differently and think differently.  Maybe it’s time to be a little less busy?

Redesigning Work coverThus far we’ve looked at a memoir, a journalist’s investigation into reclaiming leisure, and a business psychologist’s research into busy-ness.  Where do we go from here?  Well if we want to look at the at the big picture of working life in Canada Redesigning Work:  A Blueprint for Canada’s Future Well-Being and Prosperity by Graham Lowe and Frank Graves is as good a place to start as any.  Lowe and Graves focus on Canadians’ jobs and workplaces, which for many of us is the most fixed time in our day.  Of particular interest to me is the section entitled Happy, Healthy, and Productive Workers.  The authors examine what is needed to achieve this state and in the next section look at employee engagement.  They take data from workforce surveys and public opinion polls by EKOS Research Associates to look at our work experiences and more to create their blueprint for a better working future.

These books are just the tip of the iceberg.  There is a great deal of research into how we spend our time and how to get the most out of it.  The article that spurred me to start digging into work-life balance suggested that rather than looking at the quantity of time to instead look at the quality of it.  So tonight instead of Netflix I’ll curl up with a book I’ve been meaning to read.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas – If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!

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