Always fascinated by issues of work-life balance, I offered running commentary throughout the Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy “I Don’t Know How She Does It.” I never saw that date again—which provides some insight into how not to do it.
The burning question behind the film is whether it is in fact possible to have work-life “balance.” Can we have a satisfying career and a family and also carve out enough time to be satisfied human beings—passionate, organized, healthy, and wearing matching socks? Is middle-of-the-night list-making really the answer?
The Work and Family Researchers Network (http://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/), one of our clients, recently reviewed a new book that reframes that million-dollar question.
Lisa Levey, author of The Libra Solution: Shedding Excess and Redefining Success at Work and Home (Baudin Press, January 2012, $16), has spent nearly two decades studying work cultures within Fortune 500 companies that promote work/life balance and professional development. She shares her findings as a work/life balance scholar as well as her personal story of the day-to-day juggling act of being both a working professional and a mother.
“The Libra Solution provides a much-needed resource for couples who want to participate fully in both the work and home arenas,” wrote Judi Casey, director of the WFRN. “It offers strategies, examples, inspiration, and encouragement to families about how to create satisfying work and meaningful family lives.”
Levey approaches both work and family responsibilities in less traditional, more flexible ways.
In contrast to the “work harder” ethic of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Levey suggests “work smarter” ways to:
(1) Manage schedule overload.
(2) Dial down unrealistic expectations.
(3) Create a more satisfying way to work and to live.
Now there’s a to-do list I want to know more about!