We are all busy. Some are busy with the competing demands of legal practice and parenting. Others are busy with trying to take care of all their work, board, and other personal commitments.
Our lives are complex and multi-dimensional. You don’t stop being a parent when you arrive at work in the morning, nor do you stop being a lawyer when you return home at night. If you get a call from the day care with an emergency mid-day, you are going to take care of it. If a client emails at 9 pm with a five-alarm emergency, you will likely get on the phone to help out.
What we all know is that the idea of finding an ideal work life balance is a fantasy. Our lives are not neatly compartmentalized. If we are unhappy at work that discontent drains into our home life and visa versa.
After many years struggling to find an alternate to the work/life balance terminology, in October 2014 I stumbled upon the term “work/life mashup” fist coined by Jennifer Dulski, President and COO of Change.org, in her article for Fortune Magazine: There’s No Such Thing As Work Life Balance.
Jennifer explains that “mashup” is a term from the tech sector that describes “a webpage or app that is created by combining data and/or functionality from multiple sources.” Or “in music, where a mashup is a piece of music that combines two or more tracks into one.”
Our lives are mutli-layered and complex and I find this “mashup” concept much better describes our lives these days:
- We answer work emails from home
- We register our kids for gymnastics from the office
- We share stories with our friends at work about our vacation
Legal practice, particularly private practice, can provide the flexibility to maximize the value of the mashup.
In the work/life mashup category on AWAL you will find articles about how to make the most of this mashup and how to take measures to create protected single-focus areas in your life because sometimes it is great to be able to get a piece of work done from the home office, and sometimes we simply need to be completely out of the virtual office.
What is critical is being aware and making choices. When we don’t, choices get made for us, and that is when it all starts to feel out of control.
Mastering the mashup isn’t simple nor will it be perfect, but you do have the ability to make the work/life mashup work for you.