The Work-Life Balance Myth Book Summary - The Work-Life Balance Myth Book explained in key points
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The Work-Life Balance Myth summary

David J. McNeff

Rethinking Your Optimal Balance for Success

4.5 (502 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

The Work-Life Balance Myth by David J. McNeff is a guide for professionals to achieve success in their careers without sacrificing personal life. The book suggests practical solutions to managing daily tasks and stresses.

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    The Work-Life Balance Myth
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    The goal is not work-life balance, but harmony across all areas of your life.

    Imagine you’ve just gotten home from a lousy day at work, where your boss has announced impending layoffs. As you walk in, you run into your teenage daughter, with whom you’ve had a strained relationship lately, and soon find yourself embroiled in a recurring argument with her. When she storms off, you sit down to go through the mail, only to find a letter from the IRS: you’re being audited. You think you’re going to implode.

    You’ve probably experienced a sense of overwhelm at least once in your life. While it’s normal to have the occasional stressful day or week, too many successful professionals end up in a spiral of daily pressures, crushed by the desperate feeling of having no way out.

    The key message here is: The goal is not work-life balance, but harmony across all areas of your life.

    The workplace is often to blame for the lack of harmony in modern lifestyles. That’s not surprising, considering 76 percent of employees in the United States report feeling burned out at work. With most professionals working to provide for themselves and their families, one in four Americans claims they’re highly stressed from having to juggle heavy workloads and family responsibilities, and struggle to squeeze in outside interests.

    As a result, the term work-life balance has become notorious as an idealized notion for preventing burnout. But seeking balance, argues author David J. McNeff, is actually futile. While the stakes are undoubtedly high if you’re expected to be on call for 18 hours a day, letting stress take over your life isn’t the fault of the work itself.

    Rather, the feeling of stress accumulating to a crisis point is a result of spending all your waking time in two areas – the Family and Professional “Slices” of your life – while neglecting the other five: the Personal, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual slices. The author calls these the “Seven Slices” that collectively make up your life.

    Instead of trying to play a balancing act to no avail, thinking in terms of the Seven Slices means that you strive for harmony across the various areas that make up your life. Let’s look at how you can use the Seven-Slice Method to prevent the problem of stress accumulation, starting by identifying the areas in your own life that require positive attention.

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    What is The Work-Life Balance Myth about?

    The Work-Life Balance Myth (2021) is a guide to managing stress and creating harmony across the key areas in your life using the Seven-Slice Method. Rather than divide your waking hours between work and life, the Seven-Slice Method recontextualizes life into seven key areas and demonstrates how spending time in each of them every day can help you overcome pressure and find peace.

    The Work-Life Balance Myth Review

    The Work-Life Balance Myth by David J. McNeff (2021) challenges conventional notions of work-life balance and offers a fresh perspective on finding fulfillment. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With insightful analysis and thought-provoking arguments, the book challenges the idea that work and life should be separate entities, offering a new approach to integration.
    • By drawing on scientific research and real-life examples, the author provides practical strategies for creating harmony between work and personal life, making it a useful guide for anyone seeking balance.
    • The book's engaging narrative and relatable anecdotes make it an enjoyable read, ensuring that readers stay captivated and motivated throughout.

    Who should read The Work-Life Balance Myth?

    • Professionals seeking ways to manage stress
    • Parents struggling to juggle family and work life
    • Those who want more harmony in their lives

    About the Author

    David J. McNeff is an executive coach for companies around the world and CEO of the Peak Consulting Group. His previous books include Lessons from the Abyss.

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    The Work-Life Balance Myth FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Work-Life Balance Myth?

    The main message of The Work-Life Balance Myth is to challenge the idea of work-life balance and encourage a more integrated approach.

    How long does it take to read The Work-Life Balance Myth?

    The reading time for The Work-Life Balance Myth varies. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Work-Life Balance Myth a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Work-Life Balance Myth is a thought-provoking read that challenges conventional wisdom about work-life balance. It offers valuable insights for those seeking a more fulfilling approach to work and life.

    Who is the author of The Work-Life Balance Myth?

    The author of The Work-Life Balance Myth is David J. McNeff.

    What to read after The Work-Life Balance Myth?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Work-Life Balance Myth, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Get a Life! by Rick Hughes
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    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • Million Dollar Habits by Brian Tracy
    • Personal Kanban by Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry
    • Time Smart by Ashley Whillans
    • What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam
    • Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg
    • The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas Salzgeber