Wednesday, October 12, 2011

There is no such thing as Work-Life Balance

Best advice ever (from

This is from a Manager Tools posting:

Go Home (from

At our conferences, we ask everyone to introduce themselves in part by drawing a picture that represents their life. (Don't scoff - Mike and I did until we realized how effective this was.) LOTS of people draw tornados, or see-saws, or something crazy or out of control. They then tell us they're looking for "balance" between work and family.
There is none. No balance, ever. 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.
That's right - there's no "balance." If you're trying to achieve balance, you're going to fail. Balance isn't the answer. I often share with them that the best they can hope for is "dynamic tension."
But, there IS a way to be at peace about the work and family struggle. (Because that's what folks seeking 'balance' secretly crave - to be at peace about it.)
Here's what to do: GO HOME. Stop trying to be make two things balance that ought NOT to be in "balance." These aren't two equals.... FAMILY IS MORE IMPORTANT.
So go home. Decide now, right now, that you are going to actually LIVE your life the way you SAY you want to. (Or hush about it).
Start planning your days so that you leave at 6 pm, say. Just go home. And when you're there... BE there. Sure, maybe a little email after the kids go to bed, but that's all.
We know senior SENIOR people who go home at 6. And spend time with their families. And when they're on vacation, they check in maybe once a day, but if they miss it, it's not the end of the world. yeah, if their boss calls, they answer. But they don't stay plugged in.
This is an important subject, so I'm going to send another note next time, continuing this thread.
But for now, trust me, you CAN go home.

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