The Work-Life Balance Seesaw

Last week I saw another article about work/life balance.  When I saw it I, was sitting in a luxury villa in Ko Samui after spending the day pool side staring out at a turquoise blue ocean from the infinity edge pool.

Yet three days prior, I was stressed to the eyeballs, having worked until the wee hours most nights and was, in fact, still trying to finalize urgent matters while I was running down the aircraft aisle trying to find my seat after being the last one on the plane.

This is not work life balance.  This is a work life seesaw – and probably extremely unhealthy.

It seems that, for those of us in business, on the corporate merry-go-round or busy taking care of children, households and caring, this is the norm and while we read weekly about the importance of work life balance, I doubt there are too many of us who can say we’ve got it.

I did have it once.  Working on property projects, I started my day with school drop off, followed by a yoga, pump or balance class at the gym then wandered home had a shower and did a day’s work that took me until 4 when it was school pick up time.

I had time for coffee with friends – but still managed to make more in that year than I ever have before.

Whatever happened??

Well, I got the brilliant idea to start up a tech company for a problem that my co-founder and I had at the time – finding work to fit around life.

The very premise for the business is that you can find work that fits around your obligations – whether they’re kids, caring, study or fun – but little did I know that starting that business would rob me of the very balance that I finally had.

It has become all consuming – and work life balance is far from where I am yet I know it’s possible.

So why don’t I have it now?  I am, in fact, lucky enough to be in control of the clicker for my life – as we all are.  Even more than having a 9 to 5 job, having my own business does allow me work life balance, if I choose to make it a priority.  I used to – and having a break like this (and reading a couple of great business books that I otherwise wouldn’t have time to read) has allowed me to realize this.

So here’s the kicker …..

The world will not end if I take an hour off to go to the gym – but I will be lot healthier.  My business won’t earn less money if I go for a walk at lunchtime – but it will give me time to think and, probably, a lot more creatively.

And if I don’t work until midnight – I will be a lot more on the ball in the morning (and probably get an extra hour in anyway as I won’t be struggling to get up!)

This week away has not only recharged my very depleted batteries but also given me the big realization that the seesaw is not a healthy way to live – and that there’s no hero status that comes with being a “I work so hard” martyr.