Do we measure “balance” over a day or month?

February 27, 2020

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Sometimes the “what do I prioritize?” question blurs with the “work-life balance” concept. You know — when the competing priorities vying for your time are work and family/fun. How do you prioritize/find the balance?

This next point made by Laura Vanderkam had me smiling and saying, “yessssss” out loud like the nerd I am as I drove and listened to her book on Audible.

Her point: Beware the “24-hour trap.” Don’t expect to find your “work-life balance” during each 24-hour period. Instead, strive for balance over the course of a week.

I love this idea. Once you think about it, of course we can’t get balance over each day. Expecting to sets us up for feeling like a failure when it doesn’t happen.

But we can find our balance over a longer period of time. And doesn’t that relax you a little bit because of the breathing space it gives you to find it (whatever balance looks like for you)?

Look, a week may be too tight for you, but the principle still stands. I know in my junior-associate-at-a-big-law-firm days, a week could easily disappear under piles of discovery and motions. But usually, I could balance out work and fun (and sleep!) over a month period (usually… other times, I got on the wrong train I was so deliriously tired… but I digress…). There are always going to be exceptions — we’re just looking for a “usually stands” concept to work with.

So, whether you can find balance over a week, a month, or different windows of time during different phases of life, I think it’s freeing and gives you breathing room to start looking for your balance — i.e., having space for your different priorities — over a larger time frame than a day.

Check out my guide on time-blocking tips here!

Anyone else having that mental-shift/lightbulb moment, too??

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