One of my favorite quotes is from Marcus Buckingham, who says that “Not only is work-life balance nigh on impossible to achieve, even if you did manage to achieve a perfect state of equilibrium, it wouldn’t necessarily fulfill you anyway. There’s nothing inherently fulfilling about “balance”…. When you are balanced you are stationary, holding your breath, trying not to let any sudden twitch or jerk pull you too far one way or the other. You are at a standstill.
This precarious, motionless state is not worth striving for. It’s the wrong life goal.
Strive for fullness instead. You don’t have five different selves that you can keep separate. You have one life. One mind. One heart. One cup, if you will. Your challenge is not to separate one cup from another, erect boundaries between each, and then somehow balance them all. Your challenge is to move your life, tilt your life, intentionally imbalance your life toward those few specific moments that will fill your one cup.”
This topic comes up often among bloggers and the social media set as it probably does among those in other business sectors as well. Is there really such a phenomenon as work-life balance? How do you achieve it all? While I am no expert on the topic of “balance” I am somewhat fascinated by it.
I love what I do, but there is definitely an unspoken pressure to be omnipresent. We live in the day of having 27 hours worth of items on our to-do list. Unless one of you has figured out how to make more hours in a day, we all share the common bond of trying to juggle all of our personal responsibilities with our work related responsibilities. Maybe Marcus Buckingham is really on to something.
Let’s face it. Sometimes it’s easy to let one or the other get the better of us. Those of us in social media need to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ and it is so easy to get sucked into the chatter. We don’t “check” our social media accounts. We leave them open all day long while we toggle back and forth between social media and the rest of our work day.
Unlike other business sectors, the Internet does not close at 5:00 pm. It does not close, ever. There are intriguing Twitter conversations you might be missing right now as you read this post.
This does not just happen in the blogosphere either. For instance, my sister-in-law is a painter. When inspiration strikes at 2:00 am, do you head to your easel and get started or roll over and go back to sleep, hoping that the vision is still clear when you wake up in the morning?
Maybe it’s time that we all share our tricks so we can help one another maintain our sanity. That’s a terrific deed for the day, don’t you think?
I’ll start. When I get up in the morning I go through my email before my kids are up for the day. This is a routine I started years ago when I was in a business that involved putting out fires, so to speak. I like to know if there are any fires so I can be mentally prepared once the kids are off to school and I sit down at my desk. I can also respond to any quick questions or requests before anyone else in my home is out of bed.
Since I come from a background based in Excel charts, I use Excel to format my week. It may be a little old school with all of the apps out now, but it works for me. I first write in what I have to get done each day of the week and then fill in what I would like to get done. The list includes both personal and professional tasks. The ‘have to’ items come first because the ‘would like to’ items can be moved as needed.
I have been trying to check social media accounts in the evening and use my daytime to make sure I am getting through my to-do list. I also take my iPad to my kids’ classes and activities, using that time to read and comment on other blogs.
Now it’s your turn. What are your time management tips? Are you achieving a work-life balance or was Marcus Buckingham right that it’s about keeping our cup from overflowing? How do you manage your social media accounts? How do you achieve it all?