A tweet by Randi Zuckerberg was revived in an article recently about “the entrepreneur’s dilemma” – Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3.
I read the article because my good friend Regina D’Alesio hosted a blab about it. In a very quick procession of thought I went from, no, that can’t be true to well, that might be true.
Having spent a good deal of time last year reading about others’ scheduling habits I know that three is usually the number chosen as the most manageable. After adjusting my own weekly and daily planning, I’m finding three priorities or focus areas is just about right. I don’t feel overwhelmed (most of the time) and yet some weeks it is a stretch or a push to get all the things done.
While listening to my friend’s blab it struck me that I needed to make a choice that very day. I had a meeting that afternoon that would keep me out of the office for at least 3 hours. Then I was planning to meet my partner after that to watch a movie about a potential organized motorcycle trip.
Currently working on re-launching my website and new design and marketing services, work has taken the driver’s seat. At that moment, I realized my work focus would need some of the passenger seat as well. I opted to go home after the meeting and work. I was a little disappointed, naturally, but gave my full attention to the work. It paid off and I was able to finish everything the developer needed and handed it off the next morning. Woo!
After work, I would say time with my partner/family is most important. I do my best to have 2 or 3 nights when I am present spending time with him. Even if it’s just dinner, that is our time and it’s important to me.
That makes two of the five categories. According to Zuckerberg’s list that leaves friendship, staying fit or getting sleep. For my own list I would also add art (painting, knitting, reading, etc). That is a tough choice. I love to sleep. I can do one day, maybe two days with little sleep but after that, I feel (and behave) like a zombie. If work, family and sleep are my focus then I am not focusing on art, fitness or friendship. That leaves me feeling deflated and rather bummed.
Over the course of the day I kept wondering, was there any way to not leave the other categories out all together? Not a perfect balance but maybe just a little love from time to time?
While drifting off to sleep that night I remembered Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern I made a note to check it out in the morning because we all know what happens when you don’t write down the thought you have before you fall asleep. Poof! Gone.
In her book she provides examples of the different ways to tackle these categories, one way being the “Balance Tracker”. All are based on a set of categories, similar to the ones mentioned by Zuckerberg, but also a few more such as Spirituality and Self. I feel Morgenstern’s list to be more comprehensive but I do realize Zuckerberg was tweeting and concise is the rule on twitter. Clearly it worked!
The Balance Tracker
The Balance Tracker is a listing out of the categories you’d like to tackle along with the number of hours you’d like to spend and checkboxes for each hour you spend on it. At no point are any of the categories completely even but it isn’t to make it all even out, it’s to make sure time is allotted and spent on each of the categories. This may not work for everyone especially if you prefer a little more structure. It might be a good place to start to see what kind of time you have to give or would like to give to any one area even if you take that and then create a more structured plan.
Now that I’ve remembered this tactic, I think I will give this a shot. I’m still working out the best way to structure my week and have enjoyed working on the puzzle that is time management.
I don’t believe there is a perfect balance in terms of time. At no point are we going to get 8 hours of work, sleep and family. I think the balance piece comes from defining what balance is for you. It’s more of sense of balance rather than a hard and fast rule. Perhaps we need a better work than balance? I’ve recently seen “Work-Life Harmony" which sounds more fluid. Harmonies can shift and change and so does what is most important.
If all you have in a week is a couple of hours to spend on something like Art or Fitness while Work, Family and Sleep take precedence then I’d say make peace with it. Enjoy the time that is available for it and don’t feel like you have to do any more than that (no matter what social media says about fitting it all in!).
- Meet the Boss Video: Randi Zuckerberg Interview Part 3: The entrepreneur’s dilemma…; screenshot in header from this video
- Original Article: Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3 by Jessica Stillman
- Book mentioned: Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
- Blab: True or False? Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Work, Sleep, Family, Friends – Pick 3 hosted by Regina D’Alesio
- The original tweet:
The entrepreneur’s dilemma:
Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time w/family. Staying fit. Getting sleep.
— Randi Zuckerberg (@randizuckerberg) December 9, 2011