TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: How to make work-life balance work

Speaker: Nigel Marsh
Date: May 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia

Description from TED website:
Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time, and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

Select this image to jump to the actual video on the TED website.
Select the image to go to the actual video.

My Review / Notes / Thoughts

We are all looking to find some way to balance our work-life commitments. Easier said than done, right?

Mr. Marsh’s talk, while over a decade old, still is extremely relevant to this day and age we find ourselves in … perhaps even more relevant!

One of his first statements he made that really caught my attention was:

“All the discussions about flexi-time or dress-down Fridays or paternity leave only serve to mask the core issue, which is that certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family.”

It’s all about choices, right? It’s about the decisions we make on a daily basis. It’s about taking responsibility for those choices. If we allow others to make the choices for us, it is still our responsibility – because we allowed it to happen.

Mr. Marsh has struggled with and studied this issue and even written a book on the topic:

View the book "Fat, Forty, and Fired" on Amazon.com
Fat, Forty, and Fired – by Nigel Marsh.
Click to view at Amazon.

So in this TED Talk, he discusses his four observations on the issues of work-life balance.

  1. “If society [is] to make any progress on this issue, we need an honest debate.”
  2. “We need to face the truth that governments and corporations aren’t going to solve this issue for us.”
  3. “We have to be careful with the time frame that we choose upon which to judge our balance.”
  4. “We need to approach balance in a balanced way.”

Amidst the discussion of the points, he made another striking statement:

“It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead.”

It’s up to us … individually … we cannot rely on anyone else. Sure, others will lead us if we give them the chance, and then we’ve given up our control – but it’s still our responsibility because we were the ones to give away that control.

“The small things matter”

This last statement really drove it home for me. Our choices can be small – but they matter. Every choice matters … even making small gestures of kindness matter.

Yes, it is possible to find a balance between work and life. But it is a daily process and it requires thoughtful attention to the choices you make.

happy moment
Photographer: Aziz Acharki | Source: Unsplash

This TED Talk was really thought-provoking for me (although I probably didn’t write down every thought that occurred). Please take the time to watch the video for yourself and reflect on the concepts he provides.

Until next time … live long life-learner!

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