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Forget work-life balance

How often do you find yourself thinking "if I could just sit down, buckle up and put in the long hours I'll get there"...? Traditional stereotypes about being an entrepreneur can put you under huge pressure to think that the only way to succeed is to work, and work longer, and work some more.

The ability to juggle seems so attractive - especially when information is flowing through a thousand different pipelines and the 'top priorities' keep piling up. We tell ourselves we can be the super juggler and multi-tasking is a skill to be admired.

'Time' can feel like the ultimate limiter of human endeavour. I’m a business owner, employer, husband and father to three young children. The pressure to put in the long hours and simultaneously find that perfect work-life balance through immaculate scheduling and super juggling can feel very real.

When I feel this way, either at work or at home, it’s often because there’s a nagging sense of tension between these seemingly separate aspects of life. If I put more into work, will home inevitably haver to suffer? Is that a choice I need to make? When I feel this way I try to remember a simple but important principle that helps me find the best way forward…

There is no such thing as work life and family life - there is just life.

I don’t believe in ‘work-life balance’, it’s not a helpful idea. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently put it, work life balance “is a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off. And the reality is, if I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy. It actually is a circle; it’s not a balance.”

Jeff’s description of life as a circle with you at the centre is helpful. Life isn’t about rushing down the road from A to B, it’s about making the most of the moment we’re in right now. In that moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re making the next leap at work towards your ultimate business ambition, or playing hide and seek with the kids – if we can commit fully to what we’re doing right now then both work and family will benefit.

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