About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to see Karol Rose of Flexpaths speak. This burgeoning company, and Karol along with it, is changing the way we think about work, workstyle flexibility and life in general….and I’m thrilled to be writing for them. After I saw Karol speak, I wrote about her theory of work/life balance – which basically states that the quest for ‘balance’ is a myth and a recipe for heartache and stress.
Karol maintains that we should reach for work/life effectiveness instead, and this weekend I was the poster child for her theory.
Take a two year-old boy + a three year-old girl + a Blackberry/Mac/Writing/Blogging/Twitter obsessed mom and subtract my wife (you know, the reigning Mother of the Year champ) and put them together for 53 hours with no outside help whatsoever.
The perfect storm?
It could have been, but I took Karol’s advice to heart. I needed to be effective at home this weekend. So, I turned off my computer, ignored my Blackberry’s charming gong that tells me I have yet another email and sunk deeply and contentedly into my role as Mom…And I had the time of my life.
Sure, some writing ideas popped into my head and I scribbled them down. Once or twice I checked Twitter to see what was happening. But my mindset was all about home. I can assure you that if I had had the goal of getting a few work things done this weekend, we all might have imploded.
In this case, ‘balance’ was found by tipping the scales profoundly and completely in the direction of home.
Apply this lesson where you will. If you’d like to be effective anywhere, anyhow, anytime – Just. Do. IT.
Image courtesy of Zen
Join the discussion 9 Comments
Of course, this IS balance. I resent and dispute the notion that balance is a myth. Whether one calls it balance or effectiveness, it’s a matter of (1) setting priorities, and (2) making one’s choices, getting comfortable with them and then getting on with things without wasteful second-guessing and dithering. The balance will not be perfect at every moment, nor does it have to be. It’s the balance over the course of the journey that counts. “Having it all” is not synonymous with “doing it all.” No one can do it all, all the time, but everyone can decide what matters most and set up her life accordingly – just as you did this weekend and, I’d bet, most other days of your life, too.
Exactly! And that is Karol’s point. Her reason for staying away from that word (balance) is that it suggests 50/50 or that everything is balanced all the time. Her idea is that you need to be effective in each of your life spaces – and sometimes that ‘looks’ unbalanced (taking care of kids today/working 12 hours tomorrow). She is rallying against what balance has come to mean in our culture. When I heard her explain her theory, I let out the most wonderful sigh – and realized that I had been holding my breath for months, years even – trying to make the scales even.
right on, it is all about choice and making the right ones, followed by being present in the moment.
even among kiddos there is no equal split of time or attention. they get what they need from us when they need it.
i try to look at life in terms of equity, not balance. what needs attention and how to i make that happen?
“Work/life effectiveness” – I love how just one word can make such a big difference. I think it’s less about balance and more about finding what works for you, how you can be the most effective in the moment. Thanks for opening my eyes to a much better, and more effective, term.
What a refreshing idea! And makes perfect sense. I feel a bit freer already, that I don’t have to keep the balance at all times, just be effective and enjoy the moment, and maybe compensate tomorrow.
What a fantastic coincidence – I started today intending to catch up on some Google Reader time, and found your post, which references the post that first led me to you, over a year ago! What is the universe telling me, I wonder? Hmmm.
Anyway, thanks for reminding me of Karol’s theory of effectiveness. Without putting a name to it, I’ve been practicing this a ton as of late, doing the single mom thing while we attempt to move cross-country and care for an ill family member. It’s been very helpful, and my girls respond so much better when I concentrate on doing one thing at a time.
Good to “hear” your “voice” again. Great insights! :)
Lea! It’s good to hear from you too…I know this is a difficult time for you all – but I’ve no doubt that you are finding a lot of good in every day.
For me, as much as I like thinking that I can do my work, do my fun work, participate in social networks, be a wife, a friend and a parent all at once – I’m realizing more and more that while all of these thing cohabitate in my identity – they simply can’t all be ‘alive’ at the same time…
Born a Libra, I have struggled with the concept of balance all my life. That is until I realized that there is no balance. We are in a constant state of flux, more now, less later, exactly enough this second. I want to do everything and sometimes I try to cram it all in, only to become overwhelmed, complaining about the overwhelmedness I have brought upon myself. We know that we need to be present to the here and now, but it’s easy to forget. Especially when we feel we need to wash and wax the driveway and iron the roof. I have had to let a few things go lately, and it feels good. I’ll get back to them later. They aren’t going anywhere.
Mary – I always love your comments and this one is no exception…the perfect thing for me to wake up to this morning…thanks.