Oh, work/life balance. It’s one of those terms that is everywhere now and with good reason – a lot of people struggle with it whether they’re aware of it or not. The highly successful people who put everything into their work only to find, sometimes too late, that their health or personal life suffer. Or the chronic under-achiever who can’t seem to do better.
Balance in life is different for everyone in terms of what priorities are, what we want to accomplish and which side of the scale we need to balance. What is the same for everyone is those 24 hours in a day and we all have to find a way to balance everything within those hours. Some days it works and other days everything flies off the rails.
Googling “work life balance” returns over 45,000,000 articles. However, you should know that reading 45,000,000 articles is counter to balancing one’s work and life. If you don’t know that then we have a long way to go.
So whether it’s doing more in less time, earning the same amount but having more free time, or finally finding time to do what you want to do and not what you feel you have to do, here are 10 curated articles with tips and tools to help you achieve the best work-life balance you can, no matter which side of the scale you are currently tipping:
1) How to be productive without working past noon – If you want to turn lunch time into quitting time, this is a good place to start. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not, read on.
2) If You Don’t Choose Your Work Habits – Your Work Habits will Choose You – This blog’s author, Cal Newport has written what this writer thinks may be the ultimate book on work-life balance called Deep Work. As with nearly every piece on mastering work life balance, this blog and book focus on the “work” portion. It’s the times in between work: the procrastinating and inefficiencies that we all face day to day that suck the life out of our work-life balance. His books and blogs are must-reads if you want to master your day and your life.
3) How to get Your Life Back – This post is all about ruthlessly identifying wasted time and wasteful habits and getting rid of them. It’s true for a lot of us that the day is lost not in the big picture but in the small increments of wasted time that add to up to hours a day and days a year.
4) Damn the Deal, Keep Work and Life in Balance – Warren Buffett once delayed a $5 billion deal during the United States’ financial crisis to take his grandchildren to Dairy Queen. It was a commitment he could not miss. With his portfolio, it’s hard not to try and emulate anything Buffett does.
5) 7 Habits of People Who Achieved Work Life Balance – A listicle within a listicle, trust us, they are all habits that are worth incorporating into your life just maybe not all at once.
6) The 80/20 YOLO Rule – Perhaps this isn’t what Drake had in mind when he wrote The Motto but it can be applied in so many ways. This article tackles a stoic viewpoint (work hard for a better future) viewpoint and an Epicurean one(life is short so live for today). Instead of choosing one of the other, choose both in harmony. Live balanced.
7) Dr. Stewart Friedman on “Time Bind” vs. Psychological Interference and More – Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week was the disrupting book that became a New York Times bestseller and threw a lot of common work habits out the window. Now working 4 hours a week isn’t feasible for most but it’s about reducing an hour or two at a time.
8) Instead of Work-Life Balance, Try to Achieve Work-Life Integration – The title speaks for itself, maybe it’s not about balance between the two but finding creative ways to combine them. Don’t think of them as separate entities but as one in the same.
9) How to make work-life balance work – The best types of articles are the articles that aren’t articles at all. Follow? This Ted Talk can be summed up in one sentence “if you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for, you.” And, odds are you won’t like what they have designed for you. Sorry, spoiler.
10) Get Over it: There is no work life balance, just work – While the article’s title is a little harsh there are some great nuggets in there. Specifically that we don’t lack balance but fulfillment in what we do. Putting effort into out work will increase our results, increase satisfaction and increase our self-worth. Easier in print than in practice but it’s not unobtainable.
Don’t try to change everything all at once and, yes, some of these pieces can be contradictory of the next. What works for someone else may not work for you. A number of articles have been written recently about the benefits of waking up at 4 am. There are pretty favourable results but that’s not something I would ever do unless it guaranteed me extra 0’s on my paycheque and, besides, going to bed at 9 pm just isn’t something I can do. So I do what works for me.
Find what you think will work. Experiment. Incorporate. Repeat.
Hopefully, you find some balance in your life.
Now get to work.