work life balance

Work-life balance. Many people complain about not having it, and most are searching for it.
It’s illogical to continue hunting though. You won’t find work-life balance because the phrase is illogical and doesn’t consider all options.

  1. When you say, “work-life balance” you’re implying work and life are mutually exclusive. They’re not. Work is a part of life.
  2. The statement also suggests work and life are opponents—work being the antagonistic nemesis. That’s a bleak outlook. Your professional life and personal life should be allies not enemies.
  3. When people search for balance in this equation, they often measure it in equal time segments. Meaning, if I spent eight hours at work, I should enjoy eight hours of life, or play. This equation doesn’t account for purposeful or quality time. We should stop measuring balance in time increments.

Soapbox aside, I understand what people mean when they suggest they’re searching for work-life balance—they’re looking for fulfillment professionally and personally.

Although it’s a struggle for everyone, myself included, here are some tactics that have helped me achieve better balance:

  • Chase purpose. In life, we feel satiated when we feel purposeful. If your job sucks your energy and drowns your passion, change it. We’ve all heard the saying, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.” Live that. Seek out meaningful opportunities that drive your enthusiasm.

If TV monopolizes family time and your cell phone interrupts quality interactions, turn them both off. Instead of constantly plugging into electronics, seek out experiences and activities. Strive to be ever present while you engage in memory-making activities with your friends and family. No one has ever looked back and remembered the time they sat on the couch eating potato chips watching a CSI rerun.

  • Plan for success. Only you can define success in your life. Spend some time thinking about what success means to you in different areas of your life: family, personal, business, community, etc. After you have clear success definitions, set goals in each area that will lead you to that success.

If community success means volunteering more, set a goal to volunteer once a month and then research fitting volunteer opportunities. Once you’ve settled on your plan of attack, execute—take action to achieve what you desire most.

  • Control your time. If you don’t, someone else will. You are the only one responsible for what you do with your time. You have to understand and believe this, or you will continue to fall victim to others’ demands. If it’s important you will find the time, if not you’ll find an excuse.

Plan your day ahead of time. When interference comes knocking, ask yourself, is this going to matter a year from now? Chances are, probably not. Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important.

Oftentimes the main culprit to your lack of balance is you. You’re hardwired to believe you can’t do it all—you don’t have enough time. I guarantee you have enough time to accomplish way more than you think. After all, Michelangelo, Einstein and Steve Jobs had the same amount of time you do. The key is in maximizing that time. Always keep in mind that time is a non-renewable resource. We must spend it with purpose, plan and control.



Originally published in The Tennessean.

photo credit: <a href=””>Pink Sherbet Photography</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>