“The truth is, balance is bunk. It is an unattainable pipe dream… . The quest for balance between work and life, as we’ve come to think of it, isn’t just a losing proposition; it’s a hurtful, destructive one.”
– Keith Hammonds
Everyone talks about leading a “balanced life” but the reality is nobody ever achieves it. The balanced life is a myth. It’s impossible to achieve. To deliver extraordinary results in any field of endeavor, you have to focus all your time, energy and time on what you’re doing and that automatically means you have less time to do everything else. That kind of intense focus always makes balance impossible to achieve.
“In the world of professional success, it’s not about how much overtime you put in; the key ingredient is focused time over time. To achieve an extraordinary result you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to all other work issues, with only infrequent counterbalancing to address them.”
– Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Instead of trying to achieve a good work-life balance – a concept which was only coined in the mid-1980s as more women entered the workforce – look at your life as being a dynamic balancing act:
- Separate your life into two buckets – your work life and your personal life.
- Fill your work bucket wisely – by giving a disproportionate amount of time to your One Thing. Allocate as much of your work day as feasible to what you’re great at and nothing else.
- Counterbalance your personal life bucket – by paying passionate attention to the other areas of your life when you’re not at work. Have the mantra that you will work hard and then play hard as well.
Don’t go too long without counterbalancing your work bucket and your personal life bucket. Be clear about which bucket you’re filling at any one time and give it your best efforts. Work just as hard at filling both buckets as you can. That’s the best kind of balancing you can do.