Saturday, February 12, 2005

Defining Work Life Balance

This is a term that’s being used very often these days….balancing work and life in such a way that one area doesn’t lack for focusing on the other. It’s also what feeds you as an individual and nourishes you in many ways.

I was in California last weekend for a three day meeting of peers. It was an amazing experience as the energy in the room was so tangible you could cut it with a knife. Our days weren’t 9-to-5, they were in many instances 7 to middle of the night. One night in particular when I tried getting to my room at a decent hour (10:30 or so) it took me close to 3 or more hours to get there as people kept stopping me along the way for coaching or sharing or to find out more about what it is I do specifically.

When I got back home quite a few of my clients wanted to know where my tan was, after all, I WAS in California. First of all redheads don’t tan, we scorch and red hair and face isn’t too complimentary, but in all seriousness, when they gave me the “What happened to work-life balance?” question I was taken aback. Not because of the question itself because I do work on that with clients, but because it was asked in the first place.

I was in California to work. I came back home for the balance.

It was a busy energizing exhausting trip because life didn’t stop while I was away so travel on the red-eye and trying to get in every second before going to and from airports is draining, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! True as well, it was great to be home, to share my experiences with my son, to relax at least for half a day before jumping back into work with both feet. Besides which I was so pumped with ideas and topics to write on (heads up ….2 books on the way) I wanted to be back in my own surroundings to let the ideas germinate and grow.

This weekend is for work-life balance. Some work and lots of play, seeing friends, family and spending quiet time to write (which I love to do) and have the focus time to prepare for my next week client. Anyone who owns their own business knows the line is often undefined. And because I love what I do so much, a great deal of it is play. But one of my life-long intentions is to always have time for those who are closest to my heart so I’ve asked these very people to give me a swift proverbial kick when they see me losing focus.

Work life balance is crucial for a healthy and happy life and creating a future to look forward to. However it is defined by the person living it, not by their observers. Work life balance doesn’t mean equal parts of each. It changes over time and with circumstances. It’s for you to determine what works for your life.

Donna Karlin

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