Let’s say something we all know deep down: There’s no such thing as work-life balance.
Picture a pendulum: When it’s at the bottom, or balanced, it’s still. Life isn’t like that. We wouldn’t want it to be.
You can try to give all the aspects of your life equal attention so you can meet some ideal of what balance is supposed to look like. And you’ll probably drive yourself crazy in the process.
Instead of worrying about balance, think in terms of alignment. When you are clear about your vision for your life, you make choices that align with it and sustain it.
Make no mistake: Aligning your life with your vision means saying no to some things. But when you do, you’re saying yes to the things you really want. Stake out what’s non-negotiable for you — family dinners, meeting-free Fridays, an afternoon each week to work on your book, whatever. (Our downloadable Balance Guide can help you identify your own non-negotiables.) And, for the record, rest and breaks are non-negotiable.
Alignment takes maintenance. At the start of each week, reconnect with your vision and plan how you will support it before you get pulled into all the situations during the week that will devour your time and energy.
You can’t squeeze your vision into the time that’s left over after you attend to everyone else’s priorities. It’s your job to claim the time, and you get to decide how to use it.
Apparently great minds think alike! The week after this post was conceived, Harvard Business Review Magazine came out with their March issue – “Work vs. Life: Forget about balance, you have to make choices.” For the full article, click here.