Chris O’Neil CEO of Evernote, masters work-life balance. He makes a list every night, stays fit, blocks out his workweek by theme and listens to his children. How does all this magic happen? Where are the children when he is at work (or the gym, or on the road, or sitting serenely in a meditative state on a pillow)? When I read that article, I became perplexed and skeptical. In fact, that article hasn’t whetted my appetite.
However, that article got me thinking. Is the concept of work-life balance a myth? Tony Schwartz once said: Time is a finite resource and energy is renewable. That got me thinking even more. Since energy is renewable, then this is the resource I have chosen to spend the most time on. Let me share with you some ways to achieve that.
The Bane of Every Entrepreneur
A recent survey by The Alternative Board, a business coaching organization, found that about half of all U.S. business owners work 50 or more hours per week, and 20 percent work 60 or more hours. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said they feel they work too much, and many would prefer to work fewer than 40 hours a week.
The biggest reason they overwork? They feel there are some tasks that only they can handle, tasks they can’t easily delegate out to others.
In fact, entrepreneurs tend to spend most of their time in a state of being overwhelmed because they fear to delegate. This leads them to trying to avoid all of it and escape, get lost in social media, try organizing and reorganizing their desk, and perpetually think about how to explain why the work isn’t done. How can they grow their business when they avoid help from others.
Instead of using their energy wisely, they waste their valuable time on non-productive activities. They end up being stuck in a rut, they waste time and don’t work on activities that will fuel their energy level.
It Takes One Wake-Up Call
It often takes one single event in ones’ life to change your habits and re-arrange your life. When the entrepreneur falls into the spiral of work-eat-sleep-work until, weighing well over 400 pounds, and feeling ill, the entrepreneur decides to makes changes to their lifestyle.
Inflexible principles are a large part of entrepreneurial success. However, when faced with the choice of estranging your partner or further your business, you quickly discovered the third option. Which is tweaking your principles.
“Principles” are often just habits we have perfected. With time, we agree with them. In fact, no one is genetically a night person or a day person. It’s our programming and circumstances that make us so. Once you realize that, and decide to tweak your principles from working late to working early, you begin to notice pockets of time you’ve been wasting during the days because you identified this time as not being a “peak moment”. A moment you could have used to be productive.
Is It Time to Reconsider the Concept of Work-Life Balance?
After all, balance is only achieved when we have an equilibrium between two sides. Furthermore, the effort it requires to walk the tightrope between these, often opposing, elements adds its own tensions.
What if you accept that everything is interconnected? What if you shift your view to a holistic, and view your life as a whole? What if you rather develop a blended concept of work and life? When you do that, you get to realize you cannot separate work from life. As such, you develop a sense of priorities which will change over time. Your priorities will change based on the task at hand. However, the elements that comprise your life will not be compromised.
You will create a momentum that will help you move forward and will unstuck you. Which means allowing yourself not to be perfect. What step you take will not matter. What will matter is to take a step.
Stop Searching for Work-Life Balance
Answer these questions:
If you lose your job, does it affect your life?
If you lose your son in a car accident, does it affect your work?
You notice how intertwined work and life are? It is in reality one of the same.
By taking the first steps of shifting the concept of ‘balance’ to a more holistic approach, you will make room for more flexible working habits and you will rise ahead of competitors and consequently, will improve substantially your life quality.