LifeBalanceThat’s right, there is no such thing.  Many talk about it and strive toward it but few have found an acceptable definition of the concept.  So what is it and how do we define it?  The word “balance” can be a bit deceptive here.  When we think of balance we think of equality or an even number on either side of an equation, but when it comes to our time and balancing our work life and personal life, we cannot think of balance in those terms.  Here, there is no such thing.  This is so because we simply cannot schedule an equal number of hours for work and for our personal life.  What people call “work-life balance” I see as harmony.  Balance in this sense is not static as it may normally be depicted with scales perfectly aligned.  Life, though is dynamic, more like a symphony; harmonious with various pieces coming together as one to make beautiful music.

Having that harmony present not only supports productivity, but keeps you healthy along with keeping those in your life happy too.  So then, the question becomes, “How do you get there?”  To initiate the process, it’s important to know what you want your life to look like.  So ask yourself what harmony would look like in your life and figure out what you want to create.  Look at your values—what’s important to you and what priority does each one of those things have?  Is family one of your top priorities?  If you’re single family might not have the same priority level for someone who’s married with children.  Determine amounts of time you want to spend in each area based upon what you want to make happen.  Look at the goals that you’ve set too.  The should be representative of  your values, but it’s another place to look to be sure to consider all of the instruments that are a part of your symphony of life.

Once that’s done, you have to have a system in place for helping you manage yourself around time.  Life doesn’t work without it.  That system should include the processes, tools and people (other than you) who help to make things work.  Equip yourself with what’s necessary to support your work style and your lifestyle and develop the habits to make the system work for you.  They must also be taught how to manage themselves, maintain self discipline and continue to be responsible and accountable which will all take time.  It really is all about you, not about what this might look like for someone else, but what you say it is.  The reality is that what people term “balance” shifts from time to time based upon the roles we play and we, as conductors, have to be mindful of those shifts in order to maintain that harmony.  Otherwise, life does not work.