The surefirest way to achieve mediocrity is to strive for work/life balance.
Trying to fit your life into a bunch of pre-defined little time slots doesn’t work: it’s not how your brain is configured, it’s not how management is configured, and it’s not how life is configured. Insisting that you jam your daily obligations—everything from workouts to deliveries (of packages, of voicemails, or even babies)—into tidy calendar squares is a recipe for higher blood pressure, frustration, and a false sense of entitlement. (As in, “What do you mean, ‘There’s traffic on the bridge?’ I have an appointment!”)
However, that’s not to say that you can’t achieve work/life balance. You can achieve work/life balance… if you strive for passion and seek Quality Events in all of your activities. The concept of balance changes completely when you juggle passions instead of obligations.
There is only one of you; you know already you will never be everywhere you hope to be in life. You’re going to have to make choices along the way, and some of them will be tough. With this foreknowledge, you can do the following:
- Make your work something you care about. (Note that I did not say, “Find a job you love.” Great jobs, like great relationships, take work; You make them, you don’t find them.)
- Surround yourself with friends you care about.
- Learn to enjoy your family.
- Seek Quality Events in all areas of your life.
What this will do is ensure that you are always surrounded by people and activities that you feel passionate about. In your attempts to bring your best to each of them, you will naturally find the right balance amongst them. The process will not always be easy or even clean—you will often be faced with tough choices—but this path guarantees that you will be juggling passions instead of obligations, so you will never worry that there might be someplace else you’d rather be. Every tough choice you make will help you clarify your priorities further, zeroing your attention more tightly on what’s most important, most rewarding, and most fulfilling to you.
So that wherever you are, you will be doing something you absolutely love.
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.