The "Heart" of Work-Life Balance
We all have a “window” in our hearts that functions as a "gate-keeper". It permits the entrance and exit of life-giving experiences, for ourselves and for others. We have developed a general rule of thumb for maintaining a good work-life balance, based on this window. Simply put, for every 40 hours of work each week that flow out of the heart, we suggest there be about 10 hours of refueling flowing back into the life of the worker. Such refueling can involve anything that strengthens, relaxes, and encourages the worker, such as exercising, leisurely reading, and talking or praying with friends, including those who are members of the host culture.
Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to watch over the springs of life which flow out of the heart. This verse reinforces our conviction that all of us involved in mission/aid/development/health must attend to the window of the heart--for ourselves, colleagues, teams, and even agencies--as we seek to help others in our work. The following exercise can be a helpful stimulus to discuss how you, your family, your team or agency are attending to work-life balance.
**1. Life is difficult, regardless of where you are located and what you are doing. Only people trying to sell you something might say something different.
**2. We are created human and called to be workers, not the other way around. A human doing is not a human being.
**3. Failure and casualties are inevitable in cross-cultural work.
**4. The grass might be greener on the other side, but the manure is just as deep. It's probably the manure that makes it greener.
**5. You can try to do anything in life you want; you only have to face the consequences.
**6. With enough time and effort we still can not accomplish everything that we want.
**7. The ideal team member never joins a team.
**8. The "healthy" are usually too “healthy” to become workers in areas of extreme stress.
**9. You are really someone special but you are really not so special.
**10. More people would be involved in difficult settings if there were more difficult settings in affluent places.
**11. You may never know why.
**12. You probably have several other assumptions, many of which you may not be aware.
**13. These 13 premises may actually be promises.
On Behalf of the 10/40 Window of the Heart, October 1995 IJFM, Kelly O'Donnell
Reflection and Discussion
**Which of the above premises/promises apply the most to you?
**What other assumptions do you have related to work-life balance?