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Dear friends,

The phrase “work/life balance” bothers me.  It conjures up an image of a teeter-totter, or old-fashioned scales, where the goal is to keep the same amount of weight on both sides.


The implication is that work is something separate from life.  I understand that for some, it’s separate from the more enjoyable parts of life, such as travel, or time spent with family.  But still, we spend so many hours of the day at our work; I would hope that most people find their vocation enjoyable on some level.

Instead of the “scale” metaphor, I find it more useful to think of my time as a pie chart.


If we look at our time this way, the options become clearer.  We have 100% of a day, and no more.  If we want to spend more time, say, with family and friends, we’ll have to subtract that time from another wedge in the pie – for example, we can sleep less, or skip TV time.  If the “commuting” wedge seems disproportionately large, we might move closer to work to free up some of that time.

The pie will look different for each of us.  For some, work and sleep might be the largest wedges – and if that makes them happy, it isn’t wrong.  Others might feel that time with family and friends should be the largest portion, and will adjust the others accordingly.

There’s no perfect “balance,” and there’s no one right “pie.”  The right pie is your pie.  The key is to right-size all the pieces.