Often I encounter people who desperately want some version of “work/life” balance. They usually mean they feel like they are working too much and not enjoying life enough. They don’t want to abandon their work, but they want things to “balance” out a bit more, so there is more time for things beyond work.
The challenge is to carve out space for the things that really matter. The problem with this approach, it seems to me, is that it prioritizes the wrong things. Instead of building a life around the things you value most, those things become “rewards” when the real work is done. Going to your kid’s tee-ball game is only possible if you can get the evening off from work. Having a romantic dinner with your significant other is only possible if you can finish the latest project.
Neil Fiore in his book The Now Habit invites us to turn this thinking on it’s head. Instead of squeezin the “stuff that matters” into a work calendar that is already over-scheduled, Neil suggests we reset our calendars and start by blocking out time for what really matters to us. Once we know that we can go to the tee-ball game for our kid and the dinner with our spouse, then our work commitments can fill in around that. The great thing about this approach, in addition to prioritizing what really matters to us, is that it frees us up to be productive within the confines of our own design. It is easier somehow to focus on work when you know you are going to do what matters at it’s appointed time.
Neil calls this the Unschedule, and he defines it for us like this:
The Unschedule is a weekly calendar of committed recreational activities that divides the week into manageable pieces with breaks, meals, scheduled socializing, and play, plus a record of periods of productive work completed. (p. 114)
The bottom line is this. Work/life balance is a myth. Work will consume as much of your life as you let it. Instead, take control of your schedule and your life. Maximize your productivity by focusing on what matters. Work should bring us joy and fulfillment and purpose, but it shouldn’t drive us into the ground and eliminate time for anything else. Make work work for you.
And, by the way, a website can help in this department. We can help you get your business online, so that your website is doing some of the work for you. Contact us now for creative ways we can help you Unschedule your life while increasing your joy and productivity at work.