Work-life balance: There's no such thing

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Edward Poll
BridgeTower Media Newswires

What do you want to be when you grow up? That is the starting point for any discussion of a work-life balance.

But is there really such a thing as work-life balance?

The eyes have it

Most people think that they use both eyes at the same time, but they don’t. I had eye surgery earlier in my life, and the surgeon explained this to me.

Even great basketball players with wide court perception are still using just one eye at a time. When we drive a vehicle, we believe we focus both eyes straight ahead, but eyes change so quickly that it only appears that they are both focusing on the same thing.

Just think how much clarity and increased achievement we would have, though, if all of our visual focus and effort were consciously on one object at a time.

Total focus

Similarly to using both eyes simultaneously, when we are working on a task we have to focus on that thing exclusively. If we address one issue with intent toward a specific goal, we can reach that goal and move on to the next issue — and we will be better off than if we tried to address two things at once.

However, we seem to be so stressed by the lack of time to achieve all of our desires that we believe we can multi-task all the time.

Many millennials have a different attitude about multitasking than their parents. They have chosen to devote more time to sports, family and a host of other things, sometimes by limiting what they want to accomplish.

Young people have seen the personal sacrifices that their parents have made for their work and they don’t want to do that. In other words, they have learned that we can’t have it all — at least not all at the same time.

Personal experiences

I have a family, so I understand the desire for work-life balance. Yes, I have regrets for making some sacrifices forced by time constraints, but on the other hand, people who have not focused as much on their career might say, “If only I had focused more on the development of my stature [marketing plan, etc.] . . .”

In terms of work-life balance, I’m probably a better example of what not to do than what to do. For most of my career, I was not working on the “balance” portion so much as on the “work” portion.

Nevertheless, many people say that if you enjoy what you are doing and are making a contribution to society, that might not only be considered “work,” even if it is demanding. It’s also joy. Work-life balance may be built in by virtue of one’s definition.

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Edward Poll is the principal of LawBiz Management. He coaches lawyers and is the creator of “Life After Law,” a program that helps attorneys plan for profitable exits. He can be contacted at edpoll@lawbiz.com.

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