How to Succeed at Work/Life Balance (Without Going Crazy)

Imagine life is a game where you are juggling five balls. Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls — family, health, friends, integrity — are made of glass.
~ James Patterson

The first secret to work/life balance is recognizing that it’s not about balance. It is about balancing work and life. What appears to be a state of balance is something entirely different — an act of prioritizing and counterbalancing. (For example, a ballerina appears to be perfectly balanced on her toes, but a closer look reveals her toe shoes vibrating rapidly, making minute adjustments for balance.)

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Managing Willpower for What Matters Most

Willpower is the ability to control yourself to determine your actions. It allows you (and your team) to accomplish what matters most to you — solving a business problem, losing weight, cornering the market, getting out of debt, etc.

To control many of your actions, you can use selected disciplines to build a powerful habit. But to control other actions in any given day, it requires the power of will — a vital part of the self-management that’s necessary for leadership and personal success.

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Build One Powerful Habit at a Time

Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.

Achieving extraordinary results doesn’t require you to be a full-time disciplined person or team, where your every action is trained and where control is the solution to every situation.

Instead, the trick is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it. Use selected discipline to build a powerful habit. Habits require much less energy and effort to maintain than to begin.

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Stop Trying to Multitask — It’s Making You Dumb and Ineffective

Multitasking doesn’t save time — it wastes time.

When you try to do two things at once, you either can’t or won’t do either well. If you think multitasking is an effective way to get more done, you’ve got it backward. It’s an effective way to get less done.

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Use a Success List (Instead of a To-do List)

Instead of a to-do list, you need a success list — a list that is purposefully created around extraordinary results. A to-do list becomes a success list when you apply Pareto’s Principle to it.

Does it seem like every day you and your team have more and more that “simply must get done”? Do you often feel overbooked, overextended, overcommitted, and “in the weeds”? Do you (or your direct reports) feel like a human pinball, bouncing from task to task throughout the day, hoping to check as many things as possible off your to-do list — but later realizing you didn’t actually accomplish anything that truly matters?

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