Al Pacino FB Cover

The Work Life Balance Myth

If you are like most people, you are in a constant search to find work life balance, to finally reach a sense of fulfillment in your life, both personally and professionally. You have likely read many articles telling you the magic answer or formula to achieving all of these things. Yet, you sit here today reading another article, because no matter how much you read, you never find the perfect balance that you are looking for. Sound familiar?

Today I want to flip the topic on its head and look at it from a different angle with you. Let’s start off looking at the underlying problems with the concept of work life balance.

Challenges with Work Life Balance

  1. Everyone’s current situation is different

    • Let’s face it, no two lives are exactly the same. We could spend all day looking at the different scenarios, but just to get started, let’s name a few:
      • Married, single, divorced, remarried, widowed
      • No kids, one or two kids, many kids, step kids
      • Nuclear families, blended families, extended families, elderly parents
      • Business owner, employee, employer, executive, manager
      • Work one job, work several jobs, travel for work, work at local office, work in a home office
    • You get the idea. Your exact life that you are living right now can only be defined by YOU because YOU are the one living it and no two lives are going to have all of the exact same components. The point here is that one person’s formula for work life balance is not necessarily going to work for your situation. We work very closely with one of our coaches that is single, with no kids, and no elderly parents to care for and he owns over 50 companies world wide and is on the road over 300 days per year. He absolutely loves his life and is driven by this excitement and thrives on the success he has accomplished. In his world, he has work life balance that is appropriate for “HIS” situation. We, on the other hand, are married, a blended family with 5 children that live in a 90-minute radius from our home in opposite directions, have one elderly parent that we care for that lives 45-minutes from us and we own a business that requires us to travel about 6 weeks out of the year with clients and business partners worldwide. Our work life balance looks completely different from our coaches. There is no right or wrong formula when it comes to work life balance! The key is in finding a formula that feels balanced to you (We will talk about that more in a little while)!
  2. Everyone has different goals

    • No two people have the exact same goal when it comes to work life balance. Work life balance really is a continuum and you have to identify where on the continuum you fall in order to feel in balance. For some, they are more skewed to work side and others to the life side. Until you identify this, you will constantly feel out of balance. Our coach is more skewed to the work side as he is fueled by his business success! We are more in the middle of the continuum with an absolute passion for our business and helping change the lives of our clients, while also spending as much time and possible with our children and watching them grow and learn. We make it a priority to attend as many of their activities as possible (band, cross country, tennis, soccer, gymnastics, and wrestling) because that is something we are not willing to sacrifice. Again, there is no right or wrong here! It is a matter of finding your balance!
  3. Balance is more than being physically present

    • With all of the hype out there about work life balance, we find that many people are trying to achieve that balance by being physically present at work or with family, but their mind is elsewhere. We see it all the time at our kids’ events, the parents are sitting in the stands and their face is in their phone the entire time. Someone told us a story about one mom who was at her son’s soccer game in the stands on her phone and the child called her out from the field when he screamed: “Hey Mom, get off your phone and watch the game!” While we think it is enough to be physically present at times, our loved ones know if we are really there for them or not!
    • The same thing can happen at work. How often when you are supposed to be working are you distracted by the responsibilities of your personal life. Now, as we all know there are emergency situations that must be dealt with, but the latest post on Facebook or planning your summer vacation is not an emergency. We think because we are at work, we are working when in reality if we were to really keep track of what we do all day in 15-minute increments, you would see how often you are distracted by unproductive tasks, leaving you with the feeling that you can never get everything done.

The 5 Steps To Finding YOUR Work Life Balance

  1. Make a “WANT TO BE” List

    • Write down at least 10 things that you “WANT TO BE”. This will help you focus on the real meaning of life and exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes we get so stuck in the rut of day to day life, just trying to get it all done, we lose focus on what it is we are really trying to accomplish. DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND THIS!!! This list is not an “I WILL BE HAPPY WHEN…” list. Never ever, no matter what, tell yourself “I will be happy when…”! This does not exist! You know why? As soon as you reach one goal, you will already have another one in place. If you are always focused on the future, you will never be happy. Stay focused on the present moment and enjoy that moment. This list is just for you to understand YOUR values and what you want to be in your life. In other words, when you die, how do you want to be remembered?
  2. Make a “STOP DOING” List

    • Make a list of all of the activities that you are currently doing that are not congruent with your “WANT TO BE” list. This can be anything that is distracting you from the things that are truly important to you in your life. All too often, we commit to duties to make other people happy, but if it is not congruent with your happiness, you must let it go. Remember if you are not happy and content in your life, you are no good to anyone else. Your family and your business deserve the best you have to offer and if you are not able to give them that because of unnecessary duties that are spreading you too thin, that something needs to change. No one is going to take care your life except for you, so PLEASE, start taking care of YOU!
    • If you are having trouble coming up with this list, you may need to take a closer look at your daily habits and routines. For the next 3 days, break your day down into 15-minute increments and write down what you did in each 15-minute segment. You will quickly see where you are wasting time that is not moving you in the direction you want to go and also how often you are getting distracted which is reducing your productivity. For example, do you check your email or your text messages every time your phone “dings”? Set up times during the day that you will attend to these things and DO NOT let it control your schedule.
  3. Make a “MUST DO” List every evening

    • Every evening you need to make a “MUST DO” list for the following day. These are the absolute TOP PRIORITY items that are moving you closer to your goals. You should have two parts to your list, one for business and one personal. Consider each item carefully and determine if it is a true priority. Then each day when you wake up, these are the tasks that you complete first! Be reasonable on your list and do not put large projects on there that can not be completed in one day. If you have a large project, break it down into bite sized pieces and each day list which pieces you are going to do that day. Also, be sure to include some items on the list that are for you! If you go days without taking time for yourself you will never feel balanced. Take time every day for yourself even if it is just 15 – 30 minutes. THIS IS CRITICAL! The items on this list should not carry from one day to the next. When you complete the activity, cross it off so you can see your progress.
  4. Compartmentalize

    • Earlier we talked about the risk of being only physically present when we are working or spending time with our loved ones. This is so common in today’s society as we are all walking around with our “smart” devices attached to our body and every time we hear a beep or a buzz we have to see what it is. It is time to start compartmentalizing before it ruins your productivity at work and your relationships with your loved ones. Do you ever get irritated when your kids are on a screen and they ignore you? Imagine how they feel when you are never truly present for them and giving them the attention they crave by compartmentalizing.
    • Compartmentalizing is a simple skill to understand, but it will take conscious effort to apply it to your life. The rewards are well worth the effort!!! Here is how it works:
      • Mentally you are going to start a filing cabinet. One drawer is for work, another is for loved ones and finally one for YOU time. When you start work, you pull out the thoughts that relate to work from the work drawer and you focus only on those until it is time to switch tasks. When other thoughts try to creep out of their files, you nicely tuck them back in and commit to dealing with them later when it is their turn. When you are done working, you gently tuck these thoughts away and you lock down that drawer until it is time to work again. Now you move on to the loved one’s drawer or the YOU drawer and do the same thing. You NEVER have more than one drawer open at a time. This may sound silly at first but let me explain why it is so important.
      • If you are at work thinking of all of the responsibilities you have at home, your productivity goes down.
      • If you are with your loved ones thinking of stressful situations at work, you can not be present with the people you love most. This down time is meant to recharge you and help you feel balanced, but if you are thinking of work during the down time, you will not be able to recharge and you will feel constantly out of balance.
      • When you have YOU time, it is best to clear your mind completely and try to be completely in the moment, noticing all of the sites and sounds around you and focusing on whatever activity to chose to engage in.
  5. Feel energized, productive and positive all day long

    • This is where real change comes into play because most people walk around feeling exhausted and burnt out most of the time and just trying to make it through the day, then make it to the weekend so they can relax and recharge. It doesn’t have to be this way! We developed a three part system in healing our own lives that has changed not only our energy levels, but it has improved our health, relationship in our marriage, our financial situation, and the quality of time we spend with our kids. To learn about this life changing system, click here.


The Real Truth About Work Life Balance

The bottom line is this, there is no one formula to achieving work life balance that is right for everyone. It takes awareness and effort on your part to evaluate what is important to you in feeling fulfillment. For each of us balance is different (even for spouses!). Take the time to complete the 5 steps above for yourself and if you have a partner, ask them to complete it as well. It is critical that each individual in a relationship is fulfilled and feels their life is in balance and that will be a critical step to staying together for the long haul!

As a bonus, watch our video below as I interview Al Pacino on finding balance while raising kids as a Hollywood Superstar. You might be surprised by his answer! (HINT: It has to do with making your relationship work…)

None of us know how long we have in this life. There is no greater feeling than having true balance and fulfillment in life. Invest the time in yourself to find the peace and serenity you can have when you finally find balance!



Al Pacino Interview from Craig and Jenny D on Vimeo.

3 Responses

  1. Hi Jenny.
    That was a great question you asked Al Pacino. I believe it is so relevant to all people today regardless if you are an entrepreneur or not. In today’s life, we all live so fast lives and most of us have to have to juggle between not only one job to make ends meet but even two or three jobs. And then there is the other daily chores of living and having a family. Thank you for sharing your 5 golden tips on your blog. I found it very helpful and inspirational.

    I look forward to meeting you and your husband at Mega Success in November. I am super excited because this time I will also get time to ask Al Pacino a question.

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