Balance - Love, Play, Work, Health
How many people have kind of wrestled with this notion of work, life balance, you know-
You may feel any tension between work, okay.
Working too much particularly here in the Valley, I think people are working a lot of hours and then they're also having families and trying to have lives. You know, and everybody's thinking it's like, I want the perfect sundae, I want the, like I want the yogurt in there, I want the nuts I love, I want the berries, everything's in there. Everything's exactly in the right place. My life is completely balanced all the time. At every moment in time it's balanced and it tastes great and it's not gonna change. And this is just impossible to get. No matter what you're doing in your life, raising children is a hectic thing and hard to have balance, time raising the kids plus time for myself. Working and kids and two careers and all the other stuff that people are challenged with in our sort of modern society. This idea of balance is one of those, you know, ...
almost dysfunctional beliefs, like if it's not perfect, there's something wrong. It's even worse because it's posed as a dichotomy. I can have work and I have life and if I get more work, I get less life if I get more life I got less work right. It's a, and we believe that's actually a false dichotomy because that's not, that doesn't cover everything in your world. And so we went to back to the positive psychology guys and we said, what really makes a person thrive? What really makes a person happy and feel like their life is in balance? And it turns out it's not two things, it's more like four. And we divided it into these four things, because we think if you, first of all, blow up the false dichotomy and it's a balance of, it's more, it's four things. It's kind of a portfolio of stuff and they can change during the week they can change during the year. It's a much more generative way of looking at it. So first of all, love, you know, every piece of research on having a meaningful life, having a life that thrives says you have to have relationships. You have to have people in the world that are important to you and that people who view you as important, in a loving relationship. Play, we don't do enough play here at Silicon Valley. Play is defined by the things you do just for the fun of doing them. If you have a hobby, if you, play, you know, play tennis or golf or something, not to keep score, not to beat the other team, but simply to enjoy yourself while doing it. Work, of course, we all have a lot of work in our lives. And then health and health includes mental health, physical health, spiritual health, the things that make you feel grounded and the things that make you feel like, you know, I'm starting from a strong place and it's difficult to have the others, if you're not feeling like you have, a strong set of health. So we turn this into a very simple exercise and we can imagine like a dash, imagining this is the dashboard of your car, of your life driving car. And the dashboard has these four gauges on it. And, you know, love, play, work and health. And you put a bar on here that says, hey, lots of people, I love lots of people, I have lots of great relationships, lots of people love me. I feel like I'm part of a community I'm full on that play, I don't do anything for play. This was my dashboard, by the way, from the book. I don't do anything for play (chuckles), I'm screwed here. I just work all the time. Work was at 120% and you know, in the red gauge blinking, and my health was well, you know, I could probably (chuckles) lose some weight. I could probably work out somewhere. I don't have a meditation or mindfulness practice. So I rated that as sort of 50-50. That was my way of rating it. Now these are completely subjective and completely self reported, but you'll find that you're probably pretty good at this. So what I want you to do is there's a worksheet coming your way.
The first worksheet of the day.
Hoping that you can get through the dashboard in just a second.
The love, play, work, health balance worksheet. Again, so now you what you're trying to do, and I'll walk you through all these worksheets, we'll walk you through exactly how to do it. And if there's, if you're confused about something, raise your hand. The first part of this is, you know, I've explained kind of, you know, love's about relationships, you know, in and out of your life. Play is about the things you do for fun, not for merit. Work is the thing you do for hopefully for meaning, but also for money. And then health is your mental and physical health. So the first task here is look at your dashboard and just kind of mark on there, put a bar on there for whatever you feel you are, be fair to yourself. But so to take a second to observe, where do I think I am on love, play, work and health?
Don't overthink it, just mark it appropriately. According to you not your partner, not your boss.
Okay, yeah. This is your assessment.
According to you.
Okay, so if you've done that, if you've got sort of a subjective analysis of that, now the next question is, you know, if you could make one incremental adjustment, what would it be? What would you do to improve the dashboard? In the one below in the revised section, what I did is I said, you know, I need more play in my life. I, you know, I need to do something to make sure that I have play, whatever gauge on your dashboard concerns you, what could you do? What incremental adjustment on the dashboard itself, which dial would you like to have in a different position? Just make a quick decision on that.
Here's the key thing on our dashboard when one bar moves, the other ones don't have to.
No it's not a trade off.
It's either work life balance your brain on a dichotomy makes it a teeter totter and everything that goes up, something goes down, zero-sum game. You are not a zero-sum game, you're a human being. You can move one bar and the other stay where they are. This is not a zero-sum game.
Okay, so everybody got an idea of how to make an improvement. Just one a little bit. Now we believe that you start with setting the bar really low, clearing that, and then taking on another challenge, clearing that and building up your confidence that you have the ability to change. So my question to you is if you could actually, if they could actually make that change, if I could actually move my play dashboard up a little, what would I get out of it? What would happen in my life? What would change for me if that were true? If I could make that true, just assuming that I could make that change. What would happen? Qualitatively in my life how would it be different? Spread a little note to yourself. Imagine it just happened you pulled it off, good job. Now, is there a way to make that change actually actionable? Is there an incremental change that you could do something in your behavior, something in your day that would allow you to live this way for just two weeks, just two weeks, small incremental changes. Successes that build on successes is the best way to change behavior.
Our takeaways are, that's a false dichotomy. Don't fall into the work-life trap, in one of our tidbits, I forget which comedian says, it's not work-life, it's just life-life.
Yeah, Paula Poundstone, it's life-life. I got life, I got life. I got the life of work, I got the life at home, I got the life with my kids, I got the life with my colleagues. So don't fall into that trap, but find a mix that works for you and check in every once in a while to say, hey, did something change? If you're starting to feel unwell or, like something's just not right. Go back to the dashboard and see what's missing. And remember that it is that connection to other people and a connection to something outside yourself, which the positive psychologists have said is the highest indicator that you are living a life that's useful, meaningful, purposeful, whatever it is that you're looking for. And this is the way to discover if something's missing.