Work/Life Balance Is the Wrong Paradigm
Posted by PointA_PointB on August 29, 2011
Many of my clients want to discuss work/life balance and how they might possibly be able to achieve that. They feel stretched too thin. They think they should be able to “have it all.” They get stressed out trying to fit relaxation into their schedule! They feel guilty that somehow their life should be different or that things would be better if they could…
If this sounds like you, I think I may have figured out what the problem is. Work/Life Balance is the wrong paradigm and sets you up to feel like you are failing. I want you to consider for a minute the word “balance.” Actual balance can be measured in seconds and sometimes minutes but never over the longer term.
Maybe you remember the first time you tried to walk the length of the balance beam with your arms out, catching yourself as your weight shifted too far to the left or too far to the right. Or maybe you have done a yoga pose on one foot or some agility exercise and thought to yourself, “Balancing is hard!” Balance might also imply that you should be giving equal weight to everything, which is often impossible.
Instead, I would like to ask you to consider Work/Life Allocation. This is not a fleeting instant that you struggle to hold onto or recapture. Allocation is deliberate and done with forethought and planning. Allocation puts you firmly in control of how you choose to spend your time. You can go through a process and decide what your top priorities are and how you will spend your valuable time. Your allocations will change over time depending on your priorities.
When you are launching a product, friends and even family may take a backseat temporarily – and that is OK. You made a conscious choice to allocate more time to certain priorities for a specific timeframe. You allocated your time appropriately given what was going on in your life. After your product is launched, taking care of yourself and recharging may become your top priority, and some other aspects of your life may have to wait. How you choose to allocate your time is much different now.
I like the concept of allocation because it is fluid and will change over time, will be different for everyone, and puts you firmly in control.
What do you think? Does that feel more doable? I would love to hear your thoughts about balance vs. allocation. Please leave a comment below!