Ravenall Institute

Achieving Work-Life Balance

Article for The Star

I must admit that this one is hard.

In an attempt to get to grips with work-life balance I have managed to read, study and put into practice a whole host of techniques, many of which have been futile without the required life changes.

One of the best books I’ve come across on the subject lately is by Buckner, and is titled “Beyond Juggling – Rebalancing Your Busy Life”.

The authors talk about balancing three key aspects:

  • Rewarding Work
  • Deeply satisfying relationships
  • Rejuvenating self-care

As leaders in our fields I think it’s rare for us to battle with the first item. Rewarding work is something we create for ourselves, and if anything we have a problem not paying too much attention to this one.

It’s the other two – deeply satisfying relationships and rejuvenating self-care that really tend to suffer – and usually in that order! If anything, it’s usually the time for gym, reading and taking vacations that get affected.

I’d like to quickly run through a few proposed strategies which are worth contemplating as possible solutions or alternatives to the rat-race and madness we’ve all experienced at some point in our careers:

Outsourcing

I must be honest that this one is already firmly in place for me and I know of many business people, particularly other women, who make extensive use of outsourcing. And as the leader of an outsourcing business you can understand why I would fully support it 

I have a set of friends – a working couple – who are a family of 3 and have a household staff of 5 to keep their household running – there’s a cook, a maid, an au pair for the baby – who does errands, shopping and dry cleaning besides keeping up to speed with the baby’s set of extramural activities. There’s also a gardener and a driver.

Bundling

To a certain extent we all apply a bit of bundling to our current lives – bundlers get involved in less activities but they get more mileage out of those activities – this is like a book club activity or gyming 3 times a week with friends, one kills off a the social aspect together with the activity at hand…

Techflexing

If I had to draw a cartoon of techflexing it would probably be of three people fly-fishing at Dullstroom. The one would answer his or her cell phone, “Good morning, Smith, Harris and Partners, how may I direct your call?”

Techflexing is about leveraging technology to the point where we can conduct our work from almost anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t imply that we should work all the time – it just implies that we should be able to work whenever and wherever we like.”

It’s actually not about working more hours – it’s about leveraging the hours we already have.

The only advice I’d like to leave you with on this one is:Understand the degree to which you’re currently juggling and the reasons why you do.

Take a look at possible alternatives and see how feasible it would be to apply these to your life Lastly, it won’t happen unless you put an action-plan in place and execute.

That brings me to the close of just some of the parts of the key formula that I have the time to share with you today.

I hope that you have found my personal experiences and practical inputs useful today – the best reward you can give any mentor or speaker is to take cognizance of some of the items if not all and implement them,

In closing;

In my life many poems and teachings have made an impact in how I have shaped who I am one such poem I would like to share with you.

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement
To explore feelings is to risk exposing our true self
To place your ideas, your dreams, before the crowd is to risk loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying
To hope is to risk despair
To try at all is to risk failure
But to risk we must,
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing
The man, the woman, who risks nothing, does nothing has nothing, is nothing.