Work-Life (un)Balance


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