Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is the intersection between work and life. The past couple of months have been very busy for me from a work perspective. As you may remember, I moved down to Virginia as a result of getting a new job. At my new company, I hear a lot about work life fit as opposed to work life balance.
As someone who has an overachieving, type A personality, I often find myself engrossed in work and don’t always take a second to step back and breathe. Now that things are calming down at work, I’m taking some time to think over how my life and work are meshing together.
Work life fit vs. balance
At a high level, two major philosophies of work life interaction are work life fit and work life balance.
Work life fit is commonly associated with:
- Finding the right fit between work and personal priorities
- Actively managing your priorities in a way that works for you and your job
- Embracing flexibility and give and take between work and life
Work life balance is commonly associated with:
- Finding harmony between your work life and the rest of your life
- Providing equal attention to both work and life
- Having it all
These are high level definitions but hopefully what is clear is that one aims to achieve a balance (which implies a 50-50 division of attention) while the other aims to fit work and life together in a way that works best for the person at a given time.
What does work life fit look like?
I’m not sure what sounds like a better option to you, but for me, I want to strive for a work life fit. The ultimate work life fit looks different for everyone.
Right now, the following things are important to me:
- Aggressively pursuing my financial goals
- Focusing on my physical health and fitness
- Socializing with friends and family
- Giving my pets the attention and care that they need
- Building my professional network in the DC metro area
- Pursuing my career goals
So, what does work life fit look like to me in light of these priorities?
- Compensation that includes health insurance and retirement benefits, and affords me the ability to pursue my savings and student loan goals
- Being able to set aside time to work out (before and after work) and go to vet/doctor/dentist appointments (any time within reason, including work hours)
- Having the ability to commit to and actually follow through with social outings
- Partaking in learning and networking events as part of my work duties
- Recharging periodically
At this time in my life, it’s obviously important for me to find harmony between the two, but I don’t expect that I’ll ever really balance work with life equally on a consistent basis. Some weeks, I might spend more time focusing on work. Other weeks, I might spend more time focusing on other parts of my life. Overtime, with appropriate give and take, I think it evens out.
Creating a better work life fit
In looking at what it means to have a work life fit and looking at what it means to me specifically, I don’t think I’m doing to shabbily in the work life fit department. I’m happy with my compensation, I’ve had to make relatively few sacrifices in terms of socializing and other personal things, and my work schedule is fairly flexible.
However, I think there are some ways that I can make work life fit more of a priority for myself:
- Scheduling appointments in a timely matter – My lack of appointment-going is my own creation. I did manage to go to the doctor early this year, but there are a number of other appointments that I need to stop procrastinating and just schedule them.
- Taking advantage of periods where it is “easier” to take time off – Due to the project-based nature of my work, it sometimes isn’t feasible to take a lot of time during certain periods of time. I need to better identify slow periods and plan my time off ahead of time.
- Working out in the morning – I have always known that I’m more likely to exercise if I do it before work. I need to be more consistent in carving out time for exercise.
- Actively seeking out meetups and learning opportunities – We receive notice of different learning and networking events through work, but I need to make more of an effort to seek them out on my own.
I have a plan! Work life fit will be mine in no time. Now, if it were only that easy.
What do you want: work life fit or work life balance? How do you go about achieving it?