Posted by: Bill von Achen | May 28, 2010

Achieving a Work-Life Balance

As we resume our work lives after the Memorial Holiday weekend, many of us will become all too aware of the continuous challenge we face in balancing the demands of our businesses and our careers with the personal and family priorities that are equally important to us.  However, according to a noted management consultant, the best solution actually lies in removing the barriers that we erect between our professional and personal lives.

Alan Weiss, who consults with Fortune 500 companies and executives from around the world, spoke on the challenges of achieving a work-life balance at a conference sponsored by the Entrepreneur’s Executive Forum at Boston College (the precursor to the Best Practices Boards program).

Weiss’ advice? “Stop compartmentalizing your life.”

“You don’t have a ‘business life’ and a ‘personal life’,” Weiss told the business owners in attendance. “You simply have A LIFE.”

Here are some of Weiss’s other suggestions for those who are looking to achieve a better work-life balance:

Give yourself permission to be successful: Remember the little red engine (“I think I can, I think I can”). You’re not a failure simply because you fail sometimes. Failures are merely signs of how not to do things the next time.

Control guilt and fear: Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? It’s almost never as bad as you think.

Ignore unsolicited feedback: People who routinely offer you advice or feedback rarely have your real interests at heart. More often, it’s about minimizing the importance of your accomplishments or inflating their own achievements. Don’t listen to them.

Life is about success, not perfection: Striving for perfection is sentencing yourself to a life of unhappiness. Celebrate your accomplishments even when you don’t meet all of your expectations.

80% is sufficient: Same as above. The effort required to complete the last 20% of any project is almost never justified by the value produced. Learn when enough is really enough.

Life’s about output, not input: It’s about results, not process. Figure out how to achieve the same results with less effort.

Believe that you’re entitled to have fun: After all, isn’t that what we’re really here for?


Responses

  1. Striving for perfection or enough is enough? Voltaire is supposed to have said that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” Perhaps it loses something in the translation from Italian; Jim Collins opens his seminal Good to Great with “Good is the enemy of Great.” More recently, Jason Fried devotes a chapter in Rework to “Good enough is fine” and seems to side with Voltaire. It’s no wonder we’re confused. Have a good/great/perfect day.


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