In this episode, I explain my “calculation” of what I call life-work balance (because I work to live) and therefore life proceeds work, but perhaps not in the way you think.
Note: I’ll add this one final thought credited to my fellow productivity enthusiast and journalism professor Kenna Griffin (who you can find blogging at profkrg.com) who coined life-work balance instead as “Work-Life Negotiation” since all of life is a negotiation.
I hear people tell me often that I “work too much.” While this may seem like the case, I can assure you that’s not the case. I have a different paradigm about the definition of “work” and how it fits into my life. Life is dynamic and long-term process. Instead of worrying about if you’re working too much (and definitely worrying about whether someone else is working too much), I suggest that you determine how satisfied you are with how you spend your time. And, you know what I’m going to say…there’s only one way to know that…track your time! In this episode, I’d like to explain my calculation of what I call life-work balance (because I work to live, not vice versa) and therefore “life” should proceed “work,” but perhaps not in the way you think.
Typically, it shouldn’t take you more than a week or two of tracking your time on, say, an hourly basis. There are myriad applications that you can use, as well as a good old-fashioned printed spreadsheet with date, description of the task, and length of time spent on that task. At the end of this period of tracking, you’ll have a pretty good sampling of your activities across work and life. Now, categorize them into your life categories. You can use a series of colored highlighters or just noting the category next to each task for which you tracked time. Are you starting to see any patterns?
Now, think about your life and life categories. In an ideal world,
Think of your life-work balance as a pie chart. All that matters is that the pie is whole and that you have a healthy perspective about its slices. That’s balance…not a 50-50 balancing scale between all that is life and all that is work. Will your pie always be full? No. Will your pie sometimes burn? Yes. That’s life and nothing a little elbow grease can’t fix. But you know what your life-work balance pie should look like, and that’ll help create better focus for you on how your pie should look, smell and taste.
I’ll add this one final thought credited to my fellow productivity enthusiast and journalism professor Kenna Griffith (who you can find blogging at profkrg.com) who coined life-work balance instead as “Work-Life Negotiation” since all of life is a negotiation. Semantics makes a difference, so give that some thought. Thanks, Kenna!