Friday, 23 May 2008

Forget ‘work/life balance’, it’s all about juggling.

There have been many column inches written on work/life balance. I still struggle with defining what work/life balance is about. For me, my life is my work, and that doesn’t mean I am a sad workaholic who has no life outside of his job or no time for his family. It just means my personal and professional portfolio of what I do is wrapped up in a single package. The professional identity I have carved out for myself is (mostly) a total reflection of who Ian Sanders is. That identity juggles writer, consultant, project manager, dad and husband in one seamless package. All these elements are interlinked; I juggle work and play seamlessly. It’s not untypical for me to start ‘work’ at 06:30; break for a run and breakfast with my family at 08:00 and then continue the bulk of my working day, maybe breaking around 18:00 to help with the kids’ bathtime before finishing off more work. That’s a familiar tale for many executives whether they work in corporations or for themselves. And the bulk of my working day is not always about sitting at a desk or having meetings; it’s about thinking up ideas, writing up ideas and talking to people and I can do that in coffee shops or out and about.

And in order to pull off this kind of lifestyle you need to be flexible, enterprising, prepared to work hard, but also prepared to make time for play. It can be challenging; last week I segued straight from conference call into babysitting; you have to switch in and out of modes, but if edited correctly, you can carve out a working life designed around your needs and aspirations. And that’s a good result.

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