Sharing my learnings from the book, The Work-Life Balance Myth by David McNeff
The Work-Life Balance Myth by David McNeff
This relatively simple but profoundly critical concept is at the heart of the method executive coach David McNeff has used to transform the lives and careers of his clients. It begins with two important facts: 1) stress happens—you can’t avoid it; and 2) your existence is composed of far more than “work” and “life.”
Too often, we divide our lives into those two general categories, but we’re all a lot more complex and our lives are richer than that. By being clear and mindful of all aspects of your life—the Seven Slices—you’ll be more likely to find inner harmony when stress impacts one of them. In The Work-Life Balance Myth, McNeff takes you on a deep dive into each of the Seven Slices, explaining the components of each Slice, signs that you may not be attending to each Slice in a healthy way, and hands-on methods for accessing an underserved Slice.
- your life is much richer than just work and life.
- the term work-life balance has become notorious as an idealized notion for preventing burnout. But seeking balance, argues author David J. McNeff, is actually futile.
- the feeling of stress accumulating to a crisis point is a result of spending all your waking time in two areas – the Family and Professional “Slices” of your life – while neglecting the other five: the Personal, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual slices. The author calls these the “Seven Slices” that collectively make up your life. Instead of trying to play a balancing act to no avail, thinking in terms of the Seven Slices means that you strive for harmony across the various areas that make up your life
- people who’re able to handle stress well answer something along the lines of, “Things are hectic now, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.”
- While it’s hard to be fully satisfied with every area of your life all the time, you can attain a similarly practical perspective by connecting with all seven slices of your life each day
- The Seven-Slice Method proposes that each day, seven areas of your life require your mindful attention
- Professional Slice, which involves making a living
- Family Slice, in which you might play the role of a child, parent, partner, or any combination of those roles
- the Personal Slice involves your hobbies and personal pursuits that are unique to you, as well as the time you spend alone
- Physical Slice refers to the time you spend taking care of your body, whether through fitness or nourishment
- Intellectual Slice sees your curiosity manifest itself
- Emotional Slice of your life involves how you think and feel about yourself and your circumstances
- Spiritual Slice involves how your faith, values, and beliefs are nurtured
- Seven-Slice Method
- take an inventory of each area of your life. Start a spreadsheet and, in the first column, label each row with a Slice: Family, Professional, Physical, Personal, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual. ask yourself what percentage of your time each week you spend in each slice of your life. Understanding why some slices dominate your life and others don’t is what can provide the stimulus needed for change.
- establish the very smallest action you could take to connect with the dormant slices of your life. Your calendar can be a helpful tool to this end.
- Consider your personal motivation style when determining your plan of action.
- it isn’t necessarily how long you spend on each slice that matters, but the quality of that time, and the strength of your commitment.