Life-work balance is always something people seem to talk about. Any busy person worth their salt has had the balance discussion a time or ten. How do you balance all that you have going on? Work, family, hobbies, service, fun, sleep and more. There isn’t enough time in the day to do it all. So one must seek balance, the proper way to keep the scales, as pictured, in harmony. Place an equal amount of one thing on the left, and an equal amount of the other on the right, and poof! Your life is balanced and you get to do and have it all.
Balance is difficult to be achieved because the concept itself has inherent flaws. How does one find two things that are different, yet weigh the exact same? Even a tiny bit of more or less weight on one side will make the scales fall out of alignment. What weighs more? Consider placing some of these things on opposite sides of the scale:
Time with your kids or getting a product shipped.
Skipping the gym to get to the office sooner.
Working at night from home or putting the laptop away.
Date night with your significant other or late night at the office.
Service opportunity or time with your team.
In my mind, none of these things weighs equally the same as it’s plated counterpart. While it can be close, it is never exactly identical in weight, and, by definition, the scale must be out of balance.
This is where the basket comes in. Instead of thinking about life like a scale that needs to be balanced, think of life as a basket that needs to be weaved. Each piece of the bucket is a strand of life. One piece that is intertwined is your business. Another is your family and so forth and so on. You get the picture. Notice that they are touching each other. Notice that they wind in and out of one another. But most importantly, notice that in order for the bucket to truly hold its contents, the fit must be tight! This is what life done correctly resembles (in my opinion of course).
Need to work? Work hard.
Want to play? Play hard.
Time to spend time with your family? Do it.
Going to stay at the office late? Make it worth it.
Kids need a little league coach? Volunteer.
Out of shape? Exercise.
And all of this can happen, simultaneously.
Don’t get me wrong, putting the technology away and focusing on family and friends is a very, very good idea. You have to do it. The basket and the scale and anything else related to work just has to be put away sometimes. Don’t use work as an excuse to avoid family, friends and exercise. That is not what this post is about. This post is not a license to pay less attention, work when you should be with your kids and so on. You have to use your brain and your gut to make sure you aren’t allowing your business to always be number one. But think of the basket instead of the scale. Weave it all together in a healthy, shared way.
Perhaps, somewhat surprisingly, you’ll find that elusive balance you sought in the first place.