Entrepreneur

The ebb and flow of work and life: There’s no such thing as balance

The phrase “work-life balance” is a vexing one. Some people think it is impossible. Others strive for it.

Many entrepreneurs — and pundits about entrepreneurship — reject it as impossible. Others believe that figuring out how to balance work and life is a sign of a more enlightened entrepreneurial perspective.

In Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur, my wife Amy and I talk about many of the tactics we use to integrate work and life, which Amy loving refers to as “all the time that I’m not working.”

We don’t often use the phrase work-life balance as we aren’t striving for a balance between the two, but rather an effective integration of them. I’ve been using the word “equilibrium” lately, which feels different to me than the word “balance,” but I know many people will equate the two.

The challenge is that we are dealing with a very dynamic system that ebbs and flows continually. As I write this, it’s early Saturday morning; I’m at the John Wayne Airport waiting for my flight home. I have an absurd amount of email backed up from the week. I’m currently on top everything in my portfolio, so I feel good about that; but I’ve got a long writing backlog. And there’s a bunch of things I’d like to explore.

So I have much more work than I could possibly do this weekend, even if I spent the entire weekend working.

On the non-work front, I haven’t seen Amy (except for several times a day on Facetime) since early Tuesday morning when I left for Seattle. I miss her and Brooks the Wonder Dog. We have dinner with my brother, my partner Ryan, and their wives tonight. I have a 2:10 hour run on Sunday morning (I have a marathon next weekend) and a massage in the afternoon. And I want to watch last week’s episode of Scandal.

There’s no way to balance all that stuff or achieve any semblance of balance. But I can get to an equilibrium where I’m happy, Amy is happy, and I have fun.

Sure, I’ll work some, but I’ll rest some also. I’ll spend some time by myself (mostly during my run), and I’ll get to go to bed and wake up with Amy each day. I’ll be in Boulder, a town I love, with friends who are dear to me. And I’m sure I’ll spend some time laying on the couch snuggling with my dog.

Next week will be completely different than this last week. Next weekend we are in Arkansas and I’m running a marathon. Amy will be there. Then I’ll be off to Boston for a few days. Then DC, then New York. Alone again.

I won’t be striving for “balance,” but I’ll roll with the ebb and flow.

Image credit: ollyy/Shutterstock


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