Work Life Balance?
In the conversations during Elmine’s Birthday Unconference at the end of August we talked a lot about work-life balance. Basically I concluded some time ago that the whole work-life distinction has disappeared for me. I just do stuff. It used to be that work and the rest of life were separated by location and time. During work hours I would be at a certain spot, and when I wasn’t, I wasn’t working. That of course has all changed. I am somewhere, doing something, and time and location can no longer serve as boundaries to help me distinguish between aspects of my life in quite the same way.
The question became what kind of boundaries help me to be balanced in my activities and help me to experience flow (see how I avoid using work and life as opposites here)?
The week after Elmine’s Birthday Unconference I attended Dave Snowden’s Cognitive Edge seminar, about applying what we know about complex adaptive systems to organizational and work contexts.
There too boundaries are an important notion, next to attractors and barriers. Also in my work with the Future Workspaces consortium, flow and balance are frequently discussed issues.
Attractors, Boundaries and Barriers
So I have taken thoughts, questions, ideas and key words from the output of Elmine’s Birthday Unconference and sorted them into attractors, boundaries and barriers, and those that seem to fall between two of those categories.
Attractors (or things that I think will improve my flow):
Owning my learning path
Fun tools (flow is fun)
— Create my Digital habitat
Into productivity because I am lazy
— Planning is energy conservation
— That inspire me
— That help me commercially
— That make me better visible to my network
— Choosing where to spend it or not
In what places do I want to be? In terms of:
— Bridging Academia and Business
— Effect of complexity
— Information strategies
Boundaries (or things that I think help me to stay in flow):
Self reflection on current boundaries
Law of 2 feet
— On value
— On meaning
Value in my system
Places as boundaries
— where to work
— where not to work
Constraints for creativity
Knowing when to stop
Between Attractors and Boundaries (things that may be an attractor or a boundary):
Obligations outside-in vs quality inside-out
(Dis)connecting from spheres selectively
Between Boundaries and Barriers (things that may be a boundary or a barrier):
100% mobile productivity is a myth
— assumed expectations of others
What is it I get paid for?
Barriers (things I think impede my flow):
Work as a job is a 19th century concept
Communication style resulting in more work/promises
— Boundaries, expectations, terms of acceptance
Own thinking makes things urgent
— Macro / over contexts
— Micro / within contexts
Me working on the train. Photo: Elmine, license CC BY NC SA
This is thinking in progress so I am nowhere near conclusions yet. I have changed part of my routines already though. I have been playing around with place: not using my laptop for serious work on the couch. Only allowing myself to work on e-mail or simple stuff (like uploading pics) at the dinner table, all other laptop based activities taking place in our home office. But that’s just a piece of what might become a larger set of different notions about my activities.