Elements of Success: Step 9: Balance

Concept of work and life balance

Children understand the concept of balance. It makes sense to them that for one end of the teeter-totter to go up, the other end must go down, and they work together on the playground to achieve the proper balance for an up-and-down ride.

Strangely, it seems that adults have a tendency to lose that understanding. What was once common sense gets pushed aside in the quest for a new approach: the do-it-all approach. Unfortunately, just like an unbalanced teeter-totter, an unbalanced life doesn’t work. To find success in business, you must learn to practice the idea of balance.

Balance With Your Home Life

First and foremost, you will be the best version of yourself–and therefore, the best businessperson you can be–when you make space for both home and office in your life. Many people neglect home in favor of office, assuming that that is the way to get ahead. It may work for a time, but the end result of that approach is rarely favorable.

Business expert Richard Branson explains, “It is important to build a strong family life: It helps to give you a better perspective and balance in business.”

Some of the following ideas may help you strengthen your home life:

  • Silence your electronics. Have times in your day when you don’t check your work phone.
  • Exercise. Invite friends or family members to join you.
  • Take vacation days. Gary Vaynerchuk encourages this in the video “How Do You Balance Work and Family?

Balance With Your Work Pursuits

If you pull away from the office in order to spend more time with family and friends in the outside world, will something at work get left undone? Perhaps.

That’s probably not the answer that you wanted. You probably wanted to hear that you could do it all. But that’s unrealistic.

Instead, learn to do what is most important. How do you decide?

  • Identify your mission
  • Do what best aligns with that
  • Prioritize tasks into urgent/non-urgent and important/not important.
  • Talk things through with someone who cares. Sometimes we get stuck in concentric thought patterns. Talking through what’s on our plate with someone who is a good listener can help us break out of these cycles and give us renewed focus.
  • Make a to-do list every day. Make sure that your list reflects the kind of balance that you want to create. Make “take a walk” or “reach out to an old friend” tasks if that is what it takes.
  • Get perspective. This is your one life. How do you want to live it?

By focusing on your vision, you can streamline your efforts, which helps you balance the amount of work that you face. This, in turn, allows you to achieve a greater balance between the office and home so you can give your best effort at work and at play.

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