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8 TED Talks About Work/Life Balance That'll Change the Way You Think

February 05, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By (Lindsay Kolowich)


Everyone and their mother seems to have a strong opinion about work-life balance.

Some argue that balancing career and lifestyle is necessary for your overall happiness. Others argue that the concept of “balancing” your work and your life, which implies that the two are on par with one another, is plain old wrong. Still others argue the whole thing is completely imaginary and unrealistic, and that we’re making ourselves unhappy by pursuing it in the first place.

But a lot of what we read about it in popular culture barely scratches the surface. There’s a ton of cool, crazy research and science out there that’s uncovered meaningful insights about work-life balance — from how it affects our individual happiness and success to how it should affect the way companies are run.

Curious what the smartest people out there have to say about work-life balance? Check out these eight TED talks that dig in to the more unconventional and uncommonly useful advice when it comes to balancing career and lifestyle.

8 TED Talks About Work/Life Balance That’ll Change the Way You Think

1) “Off-Balance On Purpose: The Future of Engagement and Work-Life Balance” by Dan Thurmon

According to Dan Thurmon, work-life balance is a concept that’s intriguing, and desirable … and also completely unrealistic. We’re told work-life balance is the ultimate goal, and we beat ourselves up in pursuit of it. Maybe if we work hard enough, or if we’re smart enough, then we’ll get to this moment where it all evens out. But he’s here to tell you that perfect balance is something you never attain; in fact, the pursuit of balance will have a negative impact on your life.

In this TED talk, Thurmon liberates us with a new philosophy: Rather than living our lives on-balance, we should live them “off-balance, on purpose.” Being off-balance is our reality, but it’s a good thing because it allows us to learn, grow, love, serve others, and improve ourselves in meaningful ways. The question is, are we off-balance in response to our world, or are we off-balance on purpose?

2) “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work” by Nigel Marsh

Author and marketer Nigel Marsh says work-life balance is too important to leave up to your employer. If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance,” he says. But being more balanced doesn’t call for a dramatic overhaul of your life — it just means investing in small ways in the right places. Do that, and you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life. You’ll also learn what he thinks an “ideal day” looks like — one balanced between family time, personal time, and productivity.

3) “Work-Life Balance: Balancing Time or Balancing Identity?” by Michelle Ryan

Some argue that many women choose not …read more

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