Work life balance or work life mix?

I first heard of the phrase ‘work life mix’ on Undercover Mum’s post Better than work/life balance: Why work-life mix matters.  I was intrigued to say the least. What is this mix you speak of!? Kim from Undercover Mum describes work-life mix as ‘the right mix of career &/ business, family, fun, health etc. so you can feel a sense of balance and fulfillment. Whatever matters to you should be in your mix.’

I liked the idea of this, so the lawyer in me went off to do some more research and I discovered that people are rebelling against ‘work-life balance’ and work-life mix is a ‘thing’.

Women In the Mix say they have adopted the term ‘work-life mix’ because they see ‘work-life balance’ as a misnomer: ‘it implies a dichotomy, with work on one side and life on the other, and that there is a point where it all delicately teeters in equilibrium.’  They also have the word ‘mix’ in their name, so, you know, they could be biased.

Others, like behavioural researcher Dan Gregory, prefers the term ‘blend’: ‘Perhaps a better model is to seek work-life blending. Instead of weighing up the proportion spent in each “zone” and hoping to have them in equal measure, we should look to mix the right ingredients. Think of it as a cocktail rather than scales. Rather than attempting to balance the two sides of the scale, we should look to find a blend that we love the taste of.’

I know the typical portrayal of work-life balance is a set of scales, but I’ve always thought of it as more of a see-saw.  Sometimes we lean more in one direction than another; sometimes there’s highs, sometimes there’s lows; but it’s a pretty fun ride overall!  Then again, I’ve always loved my career, so I don’t see it as ‘work’ in the traditional sense.

What’s your take on work-life balance or work-life mix? Should we adopt work-life mix? Am I the only one with the see-saw analogy!? I must say, I do love the idea of a cocktail!

23 Responses

  1. I really like this and yes to the mix. There is no way to balance them both. We run a business and have a family and sometimes one takes over more than the other and then it swings back around and then other times it’s all jumbled up together. I like the idea of a mix where we try to be conscious of one taking over too much but being more comfortable with it not always being completely balanced.

  2. I much prefer blend on all levels. My current challenge is that my preferred area of work is very ad-hoc, but I need secure income. So I’m looking at balancing keeping my skills up to date with freelance work. How people manage their lives, hobbies, skills and professional interests in non traditional ways is of great interest to me – so much so I have a podcast planned on it (just gotta, you know, record it!).

    1. I find it really interesting too, Vanessa. You’ll have to let me know when your podcast is up and running, I’d love to check it out.

  3. I like this post and I agree with mixing it. It really is hard to find balance especially if you’re a mom!

  4. I wish that for you too. We spend a lot of time working and it’s important that we spend that time doing something we love. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not always that simple, but I hope you get there x

  5. I have no idea what it should be called other than a beautiful mess ; ). There are definitely times in my career when I’ve leaned in, and when I’ve taken a step back. When I had twins all I wanted to do at work was survive, come home, and take care of my family. 10 months in, I actually pursued a new job and took on a longer commute, more responsibility. I was able to lean in and my husband was there to support me. I’m also a BIG fan of me time, and constantly need at least a few hours a week to exercise, meet up with girlfriends, etc. It motivates and inspires me to live a meaningful life.

    1. Me time is SO important and often so undervalued. You’re right about leaning in too, sometimes leaning in is not right for us. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  6. Ooh I like mix and I also like blend. You’re right – I hadn’t considered it before, but balance infers that they should be in equal measure and that we should be jiggling accordingly to ensure that we don’t tip the scales. The truth is we are each following a different recipe and one that works for us so mix or blend capture that nicely! Thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam x

    1. Thank you for your great comment. Sounds like mix is going to be a winner! I think the cocktail analogy had me sold!

  7. Interesting post and I agree with another who left a comment above about it’s rarely ever 50/50. I always feel like something suffers, perhaps that’s just my insecurity though. #globalblogging

  8. I used to be hung up to the whole work life balance thing and then realised It doesn’t actually exist. Now I sort have a work life checklist… Am I happy? Am I spending enough time doing things I love, am i earning enough money? Are my children happy? Even when I am working (driving trains) I try not to see it as a separate part of my life, I try to enjoy it as I would going out for the day, or blogging. Basically doing the best I can, talking to people and taking an interest in the things I come across. I like the idea of work life mix. Thank you for linking up to #globalblogging

    1. Your outlook is fantastic!! I love it. I don’t see my work as a separate part of my life either – it’s all me! Thank you for your lovely comment.

  9. I used to struggle with work life balance until I went freelance and now my life is my work, my work is my life. The two are so entwined. Without my life to write about/share on social, I wouldn’t have the work. Thanks for linking up with #bigpinklink H x

  10. I think about this a lot as a professional who works full time at a company that is a mostly remote workplace. I really enjoy the ability to go back and forth between work and home life throughout the day. It’s also a struggle, but I find time blocking really helps with finding a good mix. #stayclassymama

    1. I do a lot of work from home too and I like the mix. It’s also SO much more convenient to just quickly hang some washing on the line and get back to work. It makes a huge difference when it doesn’t all have to be done over the weekend.

  11. I get what you mean… but I do try and think of my work life as completely separate. I do not like to intertwine them or ‘mix’ them at all. When Im at home I like to switch off my ‘day job’… I’m currently trying to lessen my hours there though so my life CAN be more of a work/life mix and I can work from home. I think its just about what job you do maybe? #globalblogging

  12. I agree that we tend to “see-saw” between the two. Definitely need to mix it all up and enjoy both. Like you said, a cocktail sounds great! #globalblogging

  13. I really love the idea of mix/blend and yes cocktail! Much more fun and definitely less likely to lead to feelings of guilt/resentment when you don’t have it equal. I think blend/mix is right, sometimes you add a dash more or less of stuff depending on what’s going on. Another great post Lucy xx #bigpinklink

  14. Ah yes definitely a blend. Although I do mostly have to do one or the other, there is quite a lot in between! Mostly leftover things to soonest side blends into the other side. Loving this idea, thanks so much for sharing with #stayclassymama!

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