So I was happy to see this article in Fast Company by Craig Chappelow, "Work/Life balance is a myth; here's what you can do about it." There was no real news in the article, but I liked this a lot:
Here’s what I tell [executives]: work-life balance is a myth. That myth compels many of us to view an ideal life as a set of perfectly level scales. On the tray on one side is your personal life. On the other side is your work life. With heroic efforts, you can keep both trays exactly level. If one starts to tip too far, you make some kind of nifty move that balances them again.In professional life (both academically and previously in industry), I tend to find it's feast or famine. There are times when everything is going nuts, and there are times when things are calm, peaceful, and somewhat boring.
In reality, that perfect balance almost never occurs, except for those rare, fleeting moments when the trays pass each other on the way up or down--and we’re too frazzled to appreciate that brief moment of self-actualization anyway.
In personal life, things are usually calm, peaceful, and somewhat boring with occasional intense, dramatic moments. Some of these dramatic moments are quick and minor (flat tire, broken furnace, lost filling, puking child), some of these moments are lengthy and painful (health decline / death of family members, financial worries, etc).
It is not possible to predict when dramatic moments will occur in real life, and it's only a little bit possible to predict when fires will happen in professional life. So I tend to agree that having work life balance is a bit of a myth.