You can’t have it all; at least that’s what some say. Balance between work and life cannot exist. But it doesn’t stop us from searching for some means by which to achieve it. Here are a few resources to help you in your search for the perfect yin and yang.
Balance seems like a subjective quality, not a quantifiable attribute, but the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development would beg to differ. Each year, the OECD publishes its Better Life Index and lists the top ten countries with the best work-life balance. The rankings are based on 11 factors, including work-life balance and life satisfaction, along with more concrete measures such as income, jobs and health.
Denmark ranks first, followed by Belgium in the number two spot, then Spain and Norway tied for third. The United States didn’t come close to the top ten (but you probably knew that if you’re reading this post).
One of my favorite posts on OPEN is The One and Only Way to Achieve a Work-Life Balance, by Mike Michalowicz. So what is the one and only way, you're asking? I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t about balance, but integration.
If you want to dig deeper, there's a Work-Life Balance in Business category list (yes, there is an entire category devoted to the subject) on Amazon. Some of the top books, by number of positive reviews include these three:
- How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner and Still Have a Life by Bill Collier is highly rated on Amazon. A serial entrepreneur, Collier is a proponent of open book management and runs the Great Game of Business in St. Louis.
- Enough by John C. Bogle. Bogle founded the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group so he knows just a bit about money and managing it. But his focus here is on the true treasures in life.
- The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz might sound like a performance book, and it is. But it is also filled with ideas on life balance. This one received the highest number of reviews.
- Pursuing a Balanced Life on GSPN.TV is a podcast with hundreds of episodes by founder Cliff Ravenscraft.
- Get-It-Done Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips to Work Less and Do More by Stever Robbins is another popular iTunes podcast. The latest is titled: How to Juggle Multiple Projects and they are a joy to listen to.
In addition to Mike’s post listed above, here are two others I like:
- Carol Roth, author of The Entrepreneur Equation offers 3 Tips to Achieve More Work Life Balance on her blog.
- Bryce Christiansen has an outstanding post on how he wears many hats in his work for a small business: The One Exercise Every Multi-Hat Delegator Should Try If They Want Work Life Balance. In it, he shares a downloadable document where he explains the many hats he wears on a daily basis. The exercise got the attention of his boss and appears to have helped him balance his work life.
We each have different needs for the juggle we call work and life balance. If you have a tip or idea that can help a fellow small-business owner, please share it in the comments.
TJ McCue runs TechBizTalk, a review, how-to, and tutorial site to help you discover the top new web-based applications and services for your growing company.