The Price You Pay for Work-Life Balance

If you want to succeed at work, you must pay for that success with time and focused energy. That time and energy has to come from somewhere, each of us starting with 24 hours in each day.

If you want family to be at the center of your life, that also requires time and focused energy. It mostly requires a presence, something that many of us struggle with because, while our body is present, our minds can be far away, still at work.

Taking time from one of these provides more time for the other. If you believe that work and family are most important, then there are other places from which you can pay for that time.

You can take time away from watching television, even the sports and shows that you most enjoy. Sporting events take hours of time that you might use for something you value more. This is not to say that one shouldn’t watch television, but that one cannot complain about not having time if they spent 8 hours watching television over the course of a couple days.

You can also pay for work-life balance by getting up much earlier in the morning. If you don’t want to take time from your family to devote to work, then work when your family is asleep. Get up at 5:00 AM instead of 6:30 AM and give yourself an hour and half of time to work when the people you care about don’t care about spending time with you. It’s true, to wake up at 5:00 AM and get 7 hours of sleep, you will have to be asleep at 10:00 PM. But, if you have kids, they’ll be long asleep by then. If you have teenagers, they won’t want anything to do you anyway.

The idea of a weekend off is only a hundred or so years old. Before the Industrial Age, you worked as much as was necessary without regard for weekends. Weekend mornings between 5:00 AM and 9:00 AM give you an additional workday each week. While others work 5 days and 40 hours, you get an additional eight hours. You can block the rest of your Saturday and Sunday for time with your family and friends.

The very idea of balance is more a measurement of your fulfillment than it is hours, but know that hours spent in one area are hours that cannot be invested in another. You must pay for time, but the decision as to how to pay for that time is up to you. In all cases, you have to forego something to have the time for something you want more.

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