Work – Life Balance

Many people profess to be seek a “balance” between work and life.   What they really mean is they want to strike a balance between work and family.  Well I have bad news…  There is no such thing as a Work – Life balance.  That’s right – there’s no “balance.” If you’re trying to achieve balance, you’re going to fail. Balance isn’t the answer. The best you can hope for is “dynamic tension” between the two.  But, there is a way to be at peace about the work and family struggle.

In today’s alway on, always connected world it there is no longer a “work time” and a “personal time.”  Just acknowledge it and get over it.  In the era before Blackberrys, iPhones, instant messaging, social networks, and blogs, we all had relatively predictable days. Now we all have unpredictable random work streams that come at us constantly 7×24.  We all feel the need to always be on in order to keep up.  The reality is everyone else is NOT doing it better than you, and you’re NOT the only one feeling stressed and worried about everything, and feeling like you’re almost failing at both.
Here is what to do:
At the beginning of each day look at your calendar to see what hard commitments you have and how much discretionary time you have.  Then look at your Next Actions list and decide what you realistically want to accomplish today before you go home.
I stress the realistic part of this.  Assign a “Today” tag to the next actions you want to accomplish today.  Then filter your next actions on TODAY so you only see those items you decided you want to accomplish today.  Then once you can check off or delete all those things that you set out to accomplish in the morning, GO HOME. Feel good about accomplishing what you set out to accomplish and go home to be with your loved ones.

Once your home be fully engaged with your family.  No multitasking. Sure, maybe a little email after the kids go to bed, but that’s all.
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About Michael Keithley
Digital Transformation CIO and Public Speaker. Previously, CIO at Creative Artists Agency

3 Responses to Work – Life Balance

  1. “Dynamic Tension” is how I describe the ever-changing and evolving tension between two interests. In the context of work-life balance where we are constantly challenged by the allocation of our most important asset – time – to work and to life or family, it is always dynamic.

    For example, I may have a critical deadline where I am determined I will work late tonight to get it done but then some unforeseen event like a loved one’s involvement in a car accident, causes a immediate reevaluation of the situation and I rush to the hospital.

    While this is a rather dramatic example, it serves to show the fluid nature of the dynamic tension to two competing priorities.

  2. Joanna Arce says:

    How would you describe “dynamic tension?”

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