One of the less cited but important change objectives identified by the transition team of President-Elect Barack Obama is to pursue policies that attend to the issue of work-family balance. This is a personal interest of Michelle Obama, the soon to be" First Lady", who mentioned it on the widely watched interview of the couple aired on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago.
Work-family balance is not a concept that has been on the radar screen of the popular press in the U.S. but it is likely one that will gain increasing attention. The concept is known by other names, including work-life balance, life balance, lifestyle balance, etc and is important because it reflects the growing awareness that life as it is often lived in developed countries these days is too hectic, too busy, too stressful, or too crazybusy to be satisfying or healthful.
Some countries, including Canada and several in Europe, have passed legislation designed to create a sustainable balance between work and family life. There is an economic motive behind such legislation, since "spillover"(stress in one area of life, such as work, affecting another, such as family life) leads to less productivity and more turnover. It can also create health problems.
It may be of interest to note that a few social scientists around the world have been working on this problem to better understand what constitutes a "balanced life". I'm interested in your thoughts on this. Please feel free to comment, providing your armchair theory, your experiences, observations or stories.
DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.
Great Links About What, How, Why, Where and How Often People Do Things
- Calculate your Life Expectancy
- O*Net - A terrific resource to get information about work related occupations
- Wisdom—A must see project of shared experience
- Brian R Little- About Personal Projects
- Authentic Happiness - Take the Work-Life Questionnaire
- wdydwdyd? (Why do you do what you do?)
- Calculate your weekly Time Use
- Bureau of Labor Statistics -American Time Use Survey
- ► February (7)
Interesting Books about Doing and Not Doing
- Bateson, Mary Catherine—Composing a Life
- Bruner, Jerome—Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures On Mind and Culture
- Christiansen, Charles & Townsend, Elizabeth—Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living
- Csíkszentmihályi, Mihaly— Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
- Diener, Ed, & Biswas-Diener, Robert—Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth.
- Edgell, Stephen—The Sociology of Work: Continuity and Change in Paid and Unpaid Work
- Gini, Al—The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure and Vacations
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon—Whereever You Go, There You Are
- Little, Brian; Salmela-Aro, Katerina; and Phillips, Susan D. — Personal Projects Analysis: Goals, Actions and Human Flourishing
- Matuska, K & Christiansen, C. — Life Balance -Multidisciplinary Theories and Research
- McAdams, Dan P. —The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self
- Robinson, John & Godbey, Geoffrey — Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time
- Seligman, Martin—Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
- Tolle, Eckhart—The Power of Now