If You’re Looking For Work/Life Balance, I’ve Got Some Ocean-Front Property in Tennessee For You!

by Boardroom Metrics

There is no such thing as a sugar rush…

There is no such thing as a blind bat…

There is no such thing as a free lunch…

and there is no such thing as work/life balance!

You might as well search for the boogie monster in your basement.  The unicorn that is called work/life balance does not exist.  Then why do so many give it consideration and so much desire?  Like everything else, if we hear about it enough, it exists in our minds.  It becomes a bogey we look at and strive for daily, just another unrealistic expectation imposed.

“We do not live to work and we do not work to live.  We live and we work.”

Picture for a moment, a scale with your company and your personal life on opposite sides.  Are they mutually exclusive?  Of course not.  No entrepreneur sets work or life aside and only focuses on one for a significant period of time.  This is not possible.  We think about work at home and we think about home at work.  If we have a disagreement with our spouse just before going to work, it will affect our day.  If we have a rough day at work, it will affect our evening.  The same is true for positive experiences.  We don’t turn it off and there is no balancing work and life.  One cannot balance two things that are interwoven.

Let’s adjust this concept a bit so it is obtainable.  Harmony!  That’s it!  What we can obtain is harmony.  We can have harmony between our work and personal life.  There can be harmony between the White House and Congress… remember Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill?  There can be musical harmony between two diversely different instruments that play different notes.  Obtaining harmony between your work and personal lives is very possible and you can have it quickly… here’s four ways to establish work/life harmony:

  1. Get Real – It is fine to review some reports on the couch during a TV show. It’s not advisable to review those reports while you’re having dinner with your family.  It is obviously advisable to text with your family during the day but doing this during a leadership meeting is not advisable.  The reality is, there will be work at home and home at work.  In all things, moderation is key!
  1. Book It – So many entrepreneurs miss the value of their calendar app. Scheduling your time to do work at home is simple.  It makes you think about utilizing the best time to do work at home.  It also suggests what times are not best for catching up on some work on the couch.  If you and your spouse watch a specific television show together on Tuesday at 8, put that show on your calendar and know you will not be working then.  If you know the remainder of your family is going to the pool Saturday morning, that might be the perfect time to bask in the quiet while you prepare for that upcoming advisory board meeting.  Your calendar will help you establish and maintain harmony between your personal and professional priorities.
  1. Get Away – It is possible to go hiking for a weekend with no connection to work. Don’t check your email and don’t work anything from the office.  Let everyone know this is coming so their expectation is managed.  Likewise, it is also feasible to disconnect for a weekend and only focus on work.  I once spent an entire weekend in a rented cabin doing nothing but building the framework for a strategic plan for a turnaround.  I told my family I would be unavailable and took walks every few hours for breaks.  Otherwise, all I did that weekend was build a plan to turn a struggling business around.
  1. Be Honest – Make sure your family knows if there is something worrying you about work. Let your trusted advisors at work know if your personal life is occupying your attention.  This transparency will allow those around you to be empathetic.  This feels uncomfortable for most entrepreneurs as they want to always be strong for everyone else.  Everyone knows you are human and have distractions.  They do too.  Open and honest communication will allow those around you to understand and adjust their expectations accordingly.

It simply isn’t possible to say you’re going to care less or more about life or work so they balance better.  I offer you these four simple and healthy methods to establishing harmony between two important passions.  Please use them and send me a note at [email protected] to let me know how it goes.

I believe you will be pleased with the results.  Here’s to harmony!

I hope this discussion on work/life harmony has you thinking.  Best…

The Boardroom Metrics Team

“When you’re green, you’re growing’ when you’re ripe, you’re rotten”