There are a class of exceptional people who don’t have the “work-life balance” problem—their work is their life. Most people, however, struggle in this area. In fact, you will be surprised how many people will would silently say "Yes" to the following question:
"Is your life interrupting your job?"
For these people, life is like a monster that gets in the way of their work.
Your job and business can keep you busy, very busy. So busy that when your life starts showing cracks, you don’t have the time to look at them and/or fix them. Once you start ignoring those cracks, it’s typically downhill from there. Life starts interrupting your job at regular intervals and the frequency of the interruptions increase at a rapid rate. Soon, you are faced with an almost impossible choice: your job or your life. You can’t choose your life alone as you need the job to keep you alive and you can’t choose your job alone because you may not have the life to live with the money you earn from your job.
I don’t want to give you the depressing details of what happens next—odds are you've already witnessed this kind dilemma from close quarters.
When you get down to the bottom of it, it’s all a question of capacity. The more you have it, the better easier it is to balance your job and your life. Here are three things to do to make some progress:
1. Expand your capacity
Since there are only 24 hours in the day, the only way we can do something better is to have capacity to do more in those hours. From now on, have a parallel track to expand your capacity to perform. Even if you are the best, the requirement won’t change because what you are “best” at today won’t be the same skills you should be “best” at tomorrow. Since the world is changing at a rapid pace, the only way to stay ahead is to keep your rate of reinvention greater than the rate of change in the world.
2. Build obligations
Another way to expand your capacity is to borrow from others. Why would they want to lend their capacity for your cause, you ask? Good question. What if you had lent your capacity to their cause as you built your own capacity to perform? What if you had built solid obligations with them so that when you need their help, they were more than glad to be there for you?
Building obligations start with caring—caring as if it’s your own.
3. Build your personal brand
Yes, I know that “personal brand” has become a cliche, but that has not reduced the value of building a personal brand. I have never seen people with good personal brands complain about the value of having a personal brand. It is the people who don’t want to pay the price for building a personal brand that question the value of having one. Since I know that you are not in the camp of complainers, I urge you to set aside some time almost everyday to work on “who you are” and “why you matter” in this world.
If used correctly, a powerful personal brand automatically provides you more capacity to contribute and make a difference in the lives of many others. This in turn, will give you the capacity to make a difference in your own life.
In summary, when you feel that your life is interrupting your job, it is time for you to wake up and do something about it.
Image credit: SightSpecific