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Balance the outputs

Work-life balance is an increasingly popular topic as we struggle to feel happy and content with growing levels of stress in our lives and an external world of boundless possibility with no end to what we can consume and create. We talk about this balance as a binary state, but both sides encompass many other areas including our health, extended family, friendships, professional development, finances and more. We measure the balance by the inputs—our time and energy—and we expect that by splitting them up we will achieve the life we want. However, if the outputs—happiness, enthusiasm, fulfillment—are out of balance, it won't matter how much time and energy are given to either side, life will never feel balanced.

The work of a missionary, bus driver, surgeon and CEO are all equally capable of creating a rich life if we engage the practice of that work properly, with the fullness of our experience and talents. Similarly, the attention and activities we engage in with family, friends, and our own health are either contributing to an extraordinary life or not.

Both our work and home lives should feel fulfilling, energizing, joyful, of value to others and feeding our growth and potential. If we optimize for these outputs in all areas of our life, how much time we spend in any single one will be irrelevant and the distinction between them will start to fade.


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