3 steps to master work life balance: step 2: rotate & stay present


In yesterday's post, Work Life Balance Step 1: Define Your Triangle, I began to address how I have mastered my own Work Life balance. In that post, I taught you how to include Play in your Work Life balance to form an equilateral triangle. Not just a line with Work on one side and Life on the other. Play should have equal importance in your life.

Now we are moving on the Step 2 of how to attain better balance.


I am getting ready to finish a branding project for a new client. The overall design is done and approved. Now we are extending the new brand look and feel onto additional collateral pieces such as a double-sided brochure, return address labels and the Facebook Cover image.

But a few weeks ago, when I was in the throws of the initial design phase, I hit a creative block. I sat at my desk in my home office, surrounded by sketches, mechanical pencils and my trusty white art eraser. My mind was blank. Nothing. Nada. I couldn't figure out the next design logo to show my client. I could here my inner critic coming, dragging his drug addict boots through my brain, slamming all the creativity doors as he got closer. I had to do something and fast!

I could see my five year old daughter playing across the hall in her playroom. She was deeply engaged and happy to be throwing a tea party for some of her mini My Little Ponies. "Sis," I said quickly getting up from my desk, "how would you like to go to the park and play on the playground the rest of the afternoon?" She shot off the floor, ran and hugged me and we headed out the door.


I was "failing" in the section of my balance triangle titled Work. I was stuck. I was blocked. I was not going to get the answer sitting there listening to my inner critic rant and rave. I rotated my triangle to the Life section. I took my daughter to the park. I won the "best-mom-of-the-year" award as a result. I made my daughter happy which in turn made me happy which in turn put my inner critic back in his room behind a locked door. If you are stuck in either Work, Life or Play on your balance triangle, rotate to another section and complete an action item that can make you feel successful.


When we got to the park, I sat down on a bench near the playground equipment so I could watch my daughter play. I waved to her before she went down the super tall slide. I high fived her when she ran back to ask if I saw her on the monkey bars. I clapped for her when she was swinging all by herself.

Now, here is the important part, STAY PRESENT. You would think that I used that time away from my desk to think about my design solution. You would think I would have pulled out my cell phone and started scouring Pinterest for designs to pin for later when I returned home. NOPE. I sat there, in the fresh air, watching my daughter play. I gave myself permission to be in Life mode. I gave myself permission to enjoy being fully present with my daughter and nature. I knew Work would work itself out later.

It is easy to be tempted to start thinking about the other balance sections, but don't do it. Don't beat yourself up if one area of your life is not working. Don't beat yourself up because you did not make an "everything from scratch homemade dinner." Don't feel guilty if you miss one dance recital because a work meeting ran late. Don't self hate because you were sick and did not plan anything fun over the holiday weekend.

ACTION ITEM: Rotate to ice cream for dinner for your entire family (your kids will love you for this one!). Rotate to setting up your living room to be a stage so your daughter can give you a special "encore performance." Rotate to rest, naps and entire days spent in pajamas watching movies and having "midnight snacks" with your kids at 7:30 pm while you blow your nose and suck on cough drops.


Rotate to feel successful and stay present with your loved ones. If you make these 2 small shifts, you will feel more balance in your life. You will not miss moments with your family members and if you do, you will make up for it with more creative action items that they will remember more than what you DIDN'T do. They will appreciate the time you dedicated to spend with them.

Tomorrow we will wrap up this serious with Step 3!