July 2022     Edition 164
Balance by Anticipating Imbalance

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We use the terms like work-life balance, balanced portfolio, balancing priorities, balance headcount vs workload

, and more.   Here
s the thing.  Take for example work-life balance:  most would define this as the balance between the time and focus on work related issues vs the time and focus on personal life and family.   So lets say you figured it out.  You
ve got the perfect balance.  But wait, someone in your family just got sick and you need to spend time with them, or something urgent occurred at work and you need to spend extra time on it.  BAM !   You are out of balance.



s another example

. Headcount resources are usually determined during the budget planning cycle by looking at the future initiatives and the $'s available for headcount. Often, during the year, there is a change in the initiatives plan, and so the balance is now  unbalanced.


The key to achieving


is to recognize that balance is just for a moment in time

, but most of the time imbalance is prevalent.  Knowing this, you should strive to understand the factors that can unbalance the balance, and how to address those factors.   Put another way, the world isn
t static, so think about balance not as a static state but a constant push-pull where you address these factors.


The Headscratcher isn

t how do I get things in balance, but how do I deal with the inevitability that things will become unbalanced.


Here are a few suggestions

for anticipating and dealing with imbalance.

  • Key Metrics

    what can you track that will enable you to recognize that things are becoming unbalanced.  This will give you time to figure out how to deal with the impending imbalance.

  • Anticipate the imbalance

    .  Talk with your family about the possibility of a work related issue that might take priority away from a planned event.  Talk about the frequency that this might occur. Look ahead and avoid surprises that will impact the balance.

  • Recognize

    that if the imbalance occurs at such a frequency as to be unworkable, intolerable, unforgiving, then a change must be made to reduce that frequency.  Maybe a different job, or different responsibilities, maybe less social demands on your time, maybe offload something to someone else (e.g. get someone to mow your lawn).  Don
    t get to the
    straw that broke the camel
    s back

  • Understand the impact

    if something doesn
    t get done, or you miss a deadline, miss the baseball game, or a night out.  What
    s the impact on you, your career, you family, your relationship?

  • Make sure expectations are clear

    .  Your expectations for yourself, expectations that others have of you.

  • Balance Buffer time

    .  Don
    t fill your day with so much that you have no ability to recover when even the littlest of things become unbalanced.  Use this buffer time to be the shock absorbers in your balance, i.e. you can absorb the unplanned.  Schedule this balance-imbalance buffer time into every day.  Maybe the scheduled time is your lunch time, or an hour of sleep.  When you need it to restore the balance it
    s there, and when you don
    t need it you can have a leisurely lunch or a longer night sleep.



The Takeaway

Balance is achieved generally for only a short moment in time.  Things change, and so the balance becomes unbalanced.   Recognize that balance is dynamic and the way to achieve and maintain balance is plan for and react to the imbalance of things.

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