In my experience…finding balance is about control
If I’m passionate about something, I have a high threshold for energy that I’m willing to dedicate to it. I’m essentially all-in, which manifests as much in what I do, as it does in what I don’t do. I do spend time, energy, thought and sometimes money on it, and usually what I don’t do is much else. My ability to focus in that regard is both an asset and a liability. It’s not that I don’t do things that are necessary when I’m in this zone of focused-ness, rather that I push away or de-prioritize anything that won’t result in too many negative consequences.
Since realizing this about myself I’ve become better about managing what I do when this happens. In my experience, finding balance is really about control. I’m typically an optimist, strongly believing in what I can make happen if I try. It’s easy to get carried away at times, and when I do it’s my ability to focus on balance that brings me back to reality. This isn’t to say that I’m not still all-in on something, rather that awareness of opportunity cost is now a factor in my thought process and rationale for how and where I spend my resources.
The balance I hear about a lot is work-life balance, broadly defined as the time spent working vs. the time spent not working. I’m not sure there are many days that go by anymore that I’m not working at least a little. For me work can be consuming, which isn’t a good thing. I’ve found that I need more balance while working in order to optimize my work-life balance, which usually comes down to deliberately focusing on certain things at certain times.
Analysis paralysis is real. The ability to make a decision and move forward is imperative to achieving balance which is really about controlling the time and energy I put into my work. There are all kinds of demands or opportunities where I can focus including, professional development, strategizing, business development, meetings, responding to emails / voicemails / texts, tactical task execution, research, recruiting, business operations, etc.
The list seems endless. Clearly, being organized is a starting point to achieving balance. But equally as important is the ability to prioritize. In order to prioritize you must be able to assign ‘value’ to the items requiring attention. Value doesn’t always mean money, rather the benefit to be derived from spending time, energy and / or resources. Taking another step back it’s not hard to see that in order to assign value there’s an underlying assumption that an objective or goal exists, the achieving of which is desired. The point being that my ability to set goals and objectives for myself and my business provides me with the north-star that leads to accomplishing balance and control by helping me focus.
Special thanks to Greg Steinlicht, whose ability to assess and prioritize opportunities has influenced my approach to balance, and to Catherina Chang who exemplifies successfully juggling multiple priorities at once.