I'm not going to say that I've found the perfect balance between work and life, but I will say that I've gotten much better at the art over time. With technology has come more taking our jobs home with us, and more of us burning out—physically, mentally, the patience of our loved one's ... the list goes on and on.
I think a big problem is that we exercise such passion in our work, and find it hard to do so in our personal life as a result. That leads to working longer hours to get that dopamine fix. It became apparent to me that was my problem at least, and here's what I did about it.
- To Do Lists: I started creating to do lists for my week on Monday morning, and for the following day the night before. This applied only to week days. I've left weekends open for whatever comes my way. Some times I work, some times I play on Saturdays and Sundays ... it really depends on how I feel. When I'm done my list for the day, I'm done. Sure, I could keep going but I made that list for a reason so I stick to it.
- Passion: I stopped trivializing the relationships I was in. That's not to say I was ever disrespectful to my partners, but I didn't date women that I could feel truly passionate about for fear they would get in the way of my work. I also stuck around when the writing was on the wall regarding said relationships. Now, I'm with someone whom I can go on adventures with, and those adventures fill me with as much pride as accomplishing something in my work.
- Breaks: There was a point in time when I worked 12 hours straight. I decided never to do that in 2017. Instead, I take meditation breaks, work out, watch a show when my brain is slowing, or just talk on the phone. The breaks re-energize me and give me a boost that has me getting my work done faster.
- Vacations: We all know when we're burning out, we just don't admit it. As soon as I feel it coming on, I take a trip. After working relentlessly for 2 months on a project, I took 4 days off recently. It was a small vacation, but an impactful one. Oh, and by vacation I mean I didn't work ... at all.
- Identifying Emergencies: These days, we think everything is an emergency. One must look objectively at what is truly important in the grand scheme of things. Answering an email often does not require us to drop everything. In 99% of cases, a bit of wait time is fine.
- Remembering Death: It can happen to us at any minute; a pulmonary aneurysm, a heart attack, getting hit by a car, shot at a convenience store. Seriously, it's a scary world out there. So why do we work all the time? What is the point of all this life if we spend it working and not enjoying the world, people, and adventures in front of us? Take a break, and create your own balance because it might all end in a flash and no one wants to have their final thought be, "I wish I had enjoyed life more."
So there you have it; my work-life balance. What's your magical formula?
Written by Jay Hall, Chief Strategist