Saturday, September 7, 2013

There Is No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance

Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul
Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul (Wikipedia)
by Kaylene S Mathews

It's a little known fact that baking has a lot to do with Work-Life Balance. It's true.

Even if you don't bake (plenty of good bakeries out there and it might cut into your balance time), you know that the key to a delicious baked treat is following a good recipe.

You wouldn't try to "balance" a cake recipe by putting equal parts baking soda and sugar into your batter.

You need the right amount of each, the right mix, to produce the best results. It's all about your mix, not your balance.

Life is about the right Work-Life Mix, not balance.

Finding the right mix for you:
  • What are all the necessary ingredients? Every recipe has ingredients that are a must. An unnamed family member in my home found this out when she tried to make cookies with only cocoa powder, sugar and orange juice. She missed a few key ingredients and added some others that weren't necessary. You can't begin to have the right mix if you don't start with the necessary ingredients. Make a list of what's necessary for you. Your list should include both work and play. Yes, play is necessary! Examine your list and then compare it with your current activities. Are you doing activities that aren't necessary at the expense of activities that are?

  • What are all the optional ingredients? There are two types of optional ingredients.
    • The first is the activity you take on that you shouldn't, similar to orange juice in a cookie recipe. It's an activity that isn't necessary, it's not enriching, or beneficial to your mix and a lot of times ruins the whole recipe. You need to say no to these activities.
    • The second optional ingredient is the activity that puts your recipe over the top. The secret ingredient. The spice. You can get along with your standard recipe, but what, if added to your life, would make it exceptional? Some people like walnuts in their brownies, and for some odd reason others don't (not judging, just perplexed). Walnuts put brownies over the top for me but too many walnuts are worse than none. Determine the extra ingredient and the right amount that will make your mix over the top. Then work on incorporating it into your life.

  • The proper amounts. How much work, how much "life" is best for you? I'm sure you can recall a time when your mix was clearly off. Nothing was right. You kicked the dog and yelled at the kids. Examine that period of time and determine what your mix looked like then. Was it due to an unnecessary ingredient (orange juice), or a missing ingredient (flour)? Or was it due to too much of one ingredient or not enough of another? Now recall a time when the mix was clearly on. You were happy, work was happy, family was happy, everybody happy. What was your mix? With knowledge of the good and the bad, what changes do you need to make?

  • Seasonal recipes. Typically one doesn't eat as much chicken pot pie in the summer as is in the winter. So as the fall activities begin, don't expect that you will have the same mix as you did in the summer. Review your ingredient list, necessary and optional. Plan in advance, how you're going to get key ingredients into your mix.
There is no such thing as Work-Life Balance, it's Work-Life Mix. And everyone's is different. What's the right mix for you?

A coach can help you determine the right mix for you by asking you the questions you need to answer to bring clarity. Kaylene Mathews is the President and owner of KSMLifeCoaching LLC.

She offers both personal and group coaching services as well as PeopleMap assessments and training workshops for individuals, groups and corporate teams in the DFW area. For more information visit:

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