Although your success in work and in life often depends on how your decisions affects others, it first starts with you and the decisions that you have to make. And these decisions are very personal - whether you make them alone or with a partner.
Question asker's recent question in Ask Balanced Bits was a fair, but very difficult one:
Do you have any recommendations on how to prioritize work and life? Tricks, thoughts, helpful decision ideas to make it easier?
I surely don't want to be flip and deliver the simple "It depends", so let me provide two elements of what might be in an individual decision making process:
- Understand your longer term issues that need some thought - - both work and life. Also understand your shorter term issues in whatever time frame is appropriate for you. (My last entry was about a work-life issue that affected less than a day of my time).
- Make the trade-offs being mindful that you only have 100% to give. And that is 100% for all your work-life decisions against the backdrop of short and long term desires.
[I smell a mathematical equation here! I haven't hidden the fact that I am a technologist at heart and even my blog title Balanced Bits was a small tribute to that fact, but I won't go so far as to "it depends" into a mathematical equation. <sighs of relief, I'm sure>]
I know a number of friends and colleagues who made short term sacrifices to go to school at night for a career change because they had a focus on the longer term. To measure the "balance": their work (possibly a job, not a career yet?) is a large part of the 100%, school/homework (to build that career) is another large part of the 100% and whatever is left is left. Not much time for Traffic Controls. Hopefully enough time for relationships in life and maybe a little sleep. This is hard, but from a big picture perspective it was the right decision. After all, a few years isn't a lot when taking the longer view.
On the flip side, the short term issues can be overwhelming. Raising children can quickly take a huge percentage of your balance equation and many would happily make those choices again. Many decisions around work (do I even want to travel now?) or life (all seems to revolve around the children) might be secondary to a decision once the children become a primary focus. This time does fly by, too (except perhaps when in a public bathroom with a messy and/or crying kid).
So - I offer no formula and not even a list of the things that one needs to consider. It is just personal. Create your list and remember that whatever your equation is will only be right for a point in time. It is likely to change - - and change again.
Change is good as you stay in balance.