Why I Don't Believe in Work/Life Balance

I love it when I get a chance to write about something that is weighing on someone’s mind or something they are just curious about.  I got a request a couple of weeks ago from a wife and new mother of a toddler.  She wanted to know my thoughts on the famous “work/life balance” thing.

I wracked my brains for a second…doing a little mental skip through the topics I’ve written about over the past years.  I must have covered this somewhere at some point right?  Then it hit me, I never wrote about it because I don’t actually think it exists!

If you do a search for work/life balance, there are like tens of thousands of people who have written about this with millions of helpful tips.  If we could actually achieve work/life balance by following a bunch of rules, we would be doing it already.  To me, taking that route sounds like a hyper disciplined robotic life and no fun at all.

What I DO believe in are prioritizing, making it easy, setting daily goals, and never forgetting that we are on this planet to have a good time.  Some days are going to be nose to the grindstone; some days are going to be open for adventure and spontaneity.  It’s impossible to have perfect bits of every thing we like in one single day.

I’d even go so far as to say I’d like to replace the word balance with equilibrium.  After all, the purpose of finding “balance” is so that we don’t lose our minds and let some precious piece of our life fall completely off the map.

Here’s how I do equilibrium:

1.  Prioritize:

We don’t have time; we make time.  If you want to see where your current priorities lie, take a look at how you’re currently spending your time.  This may be a sobering reality for you.  It’s been said that if we all cut out internet/TV time, we’d all have time to exercise, cook for ourselves and pursue whatever it is we claim we don’t have time for.  If you don’t have anyone else to take care of, I completely agree with this.  If where you are currently spending your time bums you out, it’s up to you to re-prioritize.  You may always say that you’d love to take a pottery class or have time to work out but in reality you are already spending this time watching Netflix or scrolling Facebook.  RE-prioritize and MAKE your time work for you by spending it on what is most valuable to you.

2.  Make it easy:

“You can have it all but you can’t do it all.”

~ Marie Forleo

Truer words have never been spoken.  Drop your laundry off.  Get your groceries delivered.  Have someone clean your home once or twice a month.  Take 20 minutes to research delicious meals that can be prepared in 10 minutes or less when you get home from work late and you can barely be bothered to do anything more than sit on the couch.  Your time is precious.  Make it easy on yourself.  If you can spend just a bit of money to farm out the things you need that make your world go round, you create extra time for you.  Ex.  I could go to Whole Foods and spend 45 minutes stocking up on everything I need for the week and then haul 30 pounds of essentials home on the subway in freezing cold weather….or I could just pay the $5.95 delivery fee for Fresh Direct to bring it to me.  The choice is clear.

3.  Three goals a day

This is something new I’m trying on for size and I love it!  This is a gem from Dr. Ned Hallowell-one of the world’s leading experts on ADD/ADHD.  I watched a video interview he did on why people always feel busy but never feel like they accomplish anything.  His advice was:  Set three goals a day.  Just three.  Mine for yesterday were to write this newsletter, go to yoga class, and do my laundry.  These choices covered my priorities of adding value to my community, nurturing my health, and making sure I have clean clothes.  There were of course many other things that I did during the day but these were the ones that were necessary for me to stay organized and feel accomplished.  Give this a try today and see how it feels for you!

Most importantly, don't forget to throw your to do list out the window every now and then.  Life is messy and crazy and fun.  Know when to stay on track and when to veer way off course and see what's out there!