“It’s not the time you put in, but what you put in the time.”
The Work/Life Balance
The best model we have found for balance is in the teachings of the medicine wheel. While the sacred teachings vary, the circle holds all things; within the circle balance must be maintained in the four quarters representing, among other things, mind, body, spirit, and emotion. This carries over into your business. When you are balanced physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, you are a well-rounded person. It takes effort and care to keep each domain healthy.
In business, the same teachings apply. You need to put effort into your equipment and surroundings (physical), your relationships with your suppliers or clients (emotional), your integrity and attitude (spiritual), and be mindful of working efficiently and intelligently (mental).
Beyond that, you also want to ensure that work does not take over your life, but is only one aspect of it. The medicine wheel teaches overall balance, but is also circular because we are walking a path that goes full circle as we learn. We travel the four seasons as the earth spins, and we travel through our own life seasons. Be aware that there is more to life than just work.
Try actually tracking time spent in an hour, day, week, or month and assess it in terms of balance in each of these areas. Check that family, friends, outside interests, and self-care in all four areas get the attention they deserve. Ask others for advice in attaining balance, and be mindful of this need. Try to build balance in so that it becomes automatic pieces of time already allocated to the important parts of your life.
We are each allotted only so many hours on this earth, billable or otherwise. Try to live a balanced life that is going to result in a minimum of regret and a maximum amount of satisfaction when you look back from that final hour on earth — whenever it may arrive. Very few of us know the time or place of that hour but we all know that one day it will come. An important thing to keep in mind, and a good way to keep your priorities straight.