I’m writing this on a Saturday and that’s ok with me. How does that fit with what work life balance is for you? Though our end definitions might be very different, the formula for each of us to achieve the balance we want is the same.
Steps toward more work/life balance can begin with finding clarity around the answers to the following two questions:
What is the most important output of my work time?
Did you jump to the end state of every project on your plate? Or imagine a to do list with every item crossed off? Those are common thinking traps we can fall into when we begin to talk about work life balance. This way of thinking skips over three important things we know. First, that in most workplaces, the demand for our time and resources will always be more than our daily capacity. Second, that most projects are complex and achieved in small steps over time. And third, that at times, our work projects are ongoing and don’t have a hard stop.
If we’re always going to have a full to do list and if we are unable to achieve end states of the big projects on our plate in one day, then what is the most important thing that work time needs to accomplish?
When we know the most important output of our work time, we can look at where we are spending our time as compared to that most important output and begin to make adjustments toward alignment. As we do that, we can then take that next step and entertain this next question.
What is enough?
There has to be a known state of enough. Without it, we don’t know when we can stop working for the day. Enough is personal and often becomes easier to answer when we consider our values.
- What do you need to see yourself do in one work day such that you are in integrity with yourself?
- What do you expect of yourself and does that expectation set you up to succeed?
- How does that enough align with the most important output of your time?
These are not easy questions to answer, for ourselves or for the teams we may lead, however they are the critical conversations that help us (and sometimes those around us) take two steps forward on the path to better work life balance.