Finding a Rhythm for Work and Life

Is work-life balance really attainable?

Summary
Transcript

Todd Henry, speaker and author of several books including The Accidental Creative, explains why leaders should seek work-life rhythm rather than work-life balance.

“Balance is a myth,” explains Todd. “You're never going to be balanced in your life. Balance implies a little bit here, a little bit there. I'm going to put a little bit into this, a little bit into that, and we're going to get a nice mix of things. It's not possible for ambitious people. Instead, you should be aiming for rhythm.”

Watch the video to learn the five core areas to focus on to find a rhythm between work and life.

TAKEAWAYS

- Think rhythm, not balance.
- Focus on the right problems.
- Stay connected to your people and your passions.

Balance is a myth. You're never going to be balanced in your life. Balance implies a little bit here, a little bit there. I'm going to put a little bit into this, a little bit into that, and we're going to get a nice mix of things. It's not possible for ambitious people. Instead, you should be aiming for rhythm. You need to aim to have an ebb and a flow to your life. Meaning, there are going to be seasons where you're going to be all in. You're going to be all in on a project, all in on an initiative. Then there are going to be seasons when you need to be all out so that you can be present elsewhere.

There are five kind of core areas where I encourage especially busy people to build practices to help them gain that rhythm. The first is focus, making sure that you're defining the problems you're actually solving and not just getting swept along with your work. The second is relationships. You need to make sure you're staying connected to the people around you who keep you inspired, who keep you fueled, who help you see the world through different lenses.

The third area is energy. We manage our time very well. We have more tools for time management than at any point in human history. We are terrible at managing energy. We'll stack meeting after meeting after meeting, we get to the end of the day, we got nothing left to give. If we do that enough days in a row, eventually we find ourselves becoming increasingly efficient at doing decreasingly effective things. So managing energy really is about taking care of yourself, obviously, making sure you're getting plenty of sleep, making sure that you're eating the right kind of food. But also it's about managing the number of priorities on your plate, making sure that you're taking time to prune on a consistent basis.

The fourth area is stimuli. If you want to be brilliant when it matters most and you want to do great work, you need to be putting high-quality stimuli into your life, valuable stimuli that can challenge you, help you see the world in a new way. Are you studying? Are you reading? Are you taking in things that are inspiring to you?

Then the final area is hours. We think about hours in terms of efficiency but not necessarily effectiveness. Are you taking time to invest hours in things like generating ideas for your most important work? Are you taking time to engage in going to places where you're going to be inspired?

It's really about building practices in each of those areas, focus, relationships, energy, stimuli, hours, and keeping them in mind—which, by the way, spell the word FRESH—you can keep yourself what I call prolific, brilliant and healthy all at the same time.
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Todd Henry

Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of four books—The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words and Herding Tigers—which have been translat...

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