So much talk about work-life balance these days and in the past five years or so.
Friends I have struggle with this. Colleagues at work too. It's as if many folks can't seem to hold all of the balls in the air. We face a few options, at least according to contemporary wisdom:
- drop a few balls (i.e. resign from your post as treasurer of whatever organization in town)
- hire it out (think: pool boy)
- get smarter
- get faster
- wait for a time in life when things are easy
Ask someone who knows me and they'll tell you that I'm hardly an expert when it comes to work-life balance. Like anyone, I occasionally drop a ball by accident or add another project to my already bursting list.
And yet, I'm thinking of a friend, John, who said to me recently, "Mike, if you can do all that you do, with four kids and a busy job, I can do it too."
There's a secret of course at play here- super productive people don't "do it all". They don't have a magical 25th hour in their day or a secret iOS app that gets more done for them.
Rather, they go in spurts. Push and pull. Action and then rest.
This summer I've tried to practice this- a week of rest and then two weeks of hard work. A week of study and then a week of hard work.
It's actually been unbalanced if we were doctrinal about things. But maybe there's a deeper principle in play- you can only do what you can do. Do it smart and in bursts.
Maybe it's time we start talking about work-life (un)balance as a virtue instead of beating ourselves up for failing to meet a deadline. What can you stop doing today that will free up time and energy?
*photo courtesy of GM