The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

March 24, 2011

Making It Real: Work-Life Balance

By Steve Motenko

Work expands to fill the time allotted to it.  So merely wishing you didn’t work so much won’t get you work-life balance.  If you want to reduce the time you spend at work and increase your fulfillment outside of work, you gotta get proactive … starting with 2 avenues of inquiry – from inside your work, and from outside it.

From inside your work, it’s about becoming more efficient.  Take 2 minutes every afternoon to ask yourself questions like:

  • What did I spend more time on today than was necessary?
  • Of everything I did today, what might I ideally have delegated?
  • What processes or systems need to be in place to make pieces of my work go quicker?

From outside your work, it’s about carving time for what’s important, and letting work fit around it.  Easier said than done, I know, but here’s a start:

Make a list of the domains of your life, like:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Primary relationship
  • Friends
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Volunteer work
  • Exercise
  • Spirituality
  • Personal growth

For each domain, ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, “How fulfilled do I feel?”  Like if the only exercise you get is texting, give yourself a 1 on Exercise.  If you spend 17 hours a day tinkering with your prized Justin Bieber poster collection, give yourself a 10 for hobbies and interests.  Like that.

Then look at your lowest scores on the domains of your life, decide which ones are most important for you to elevate, and make a plan for spending more quality time in that domain.  Share that plan with someone you love, and ask them to hold you accountable.

I’m a certified personal development coach.  This is the sort of thing we do with clients all the time.  If it’s important enough to you to bring up your domain scores – and you’re feeling stuck – cawl me, we’ll tawk.  206 973-7377 … or


About the Author

Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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