I’ve been surprised lately by the number of people asking me about work/life balance. We feel we are undervaluing our family ties, our personal goals, our community involvement, our hobbies and our art. Oftentimes our work makes us feel isolated – we feel alone and seek meaning in our lives. Amusingly, we feel like we’ve invented this feeling.
When people tell me that their generation is somehow unique in this feeling, I ask them to talk to their parents and their grandparents. Soon they discover it is merely a myth that takes just a few minutes to dispel. When your parents laugh at your hubris for an hour or so, it’s quite a gut-check.
Nonetheless, we can posit that we’ve managed to give ourselves a lot more controllable distractions than were there before. We just don’t control them very well.
So for this third post on Task Types, we’ll do some work/life balance tasks and, like we did with work tasks, we’ll establish some rules around them. Again, let’s use colors.
Let’s say that purple represents family time. Use purple stickies and note real family time – not that trip to Costco but rather, those things that your kids will look back on and remember with a smile.
Next, let’s have blue represent those things that need to be done for the family. These are tasks like, “Fix the leak in the downstairs bathroom” or “Mow the Lawn.”
Finally, let’s use green for aspirations. These are tasks like “Read the complete works of Vonnegut” or “Learn Personal Kanban” or “Get CPR Certificate.”
Sound good? Great! So what happens next?
These colored tasks can appear on your Personal Kanban as task types. You can then set up your balance – literally. Every day you can pull one purple. Every week you can pull two blue and two green. And in your DONE column, you can see where you are with your goals.
Work/life balance now has a shape and a color palette.
Having said this, I consider my work and my life as indiscrete parts of a continuum. I love what I’m doing at Modus and the people I’m doing it with. So for me, the balance comes from not becoming so enamored with Modus work that I forsake all other activities. And, yes, I do need to work on this.
But, I will venture a guess that if you actively dislike what you do professionally, work/life balance will be unapproachable. You simply cannot dislike that much of your life and expect to achieve a healthy balance.
Photo by Robotography
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