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The Myth of Work-Life Balance

"You work and travel a lot, and you have a family. How do you have work life balancel?" one of my team members asked.

My answer was not what she was expecting to hear, "I don't."

The reality was and still is that my life is constantly unbalanced. On any given day I will end with a feeling that either I spent too much time at work and not enough time with my family, or so much time with my family that I have neglected my professional to do list, and even worse as a result I have in the past fallen into completely neglecting myself which I now acknowledge hurts all other aspects of my life.

Striving for balance is not achievable. Every area of your life can use more attention: work will never cease, you'll never have enough time with your family, you'll never get enough time with friends, and you'll never get enough gym or spa time. So what should we be measuring against?

Instead of asking "Is my life balanced?" ask "Did I make the most meaningful contributions today" Think of each area of your life as a buckets - these buckets are likely the same size but some may be smaller and some may be larger. After each activity you drop one ball into the respective bucket. The goal isn't that at the end of each day they have an equal number of balls, but rather that no bucket is empty and that the distribution is not heavily skewed overall. This may be that one day you only contribute to the work bucket, such as when you have business travel, but that other times you may contribute more heavily to others.

In a world that is always plugged in, each area of your life is continuous, and it's more meaningful acknowledge the fluidity and aim make meaningful and focused contributions to those buckets.

How do you approach balance? Do you think work life balance is possible?

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