Training for an Ultra requires boundaries, not balance
I think I may have heard it first from Mel Robbins, author of the best selling book, “Five Second Rule,” that work-life balance is a myth.
Balance denotes equal. Think a perfectly balanced see-saw.
Don’t believe me? Think about this.
At any given second of your life, you are not simultaneously and equally thinking about both your personal life and your work life. Instead, you are thinking about one or the other.
As much as we may think ourselves great multi-taskers, studies show that our brain cannot hold two thoughts at the same time. Instead, what our brain is doing with so-called “multi-tasking” is switching gears quickly between one thought and then another.
Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. It may happen within seconds but our attention is pulled in a different direction before it is snapped back again to the most pressing task at hand.
Think that’s an efficient way to live an effective, purposeful life? Nah, I don’t either.
I mention this because I, like perhaps you too, struggle with “work-life” balance everyday. I think it’s especially difficult for a business owner who also works inside the business. I’m a lawyer working with clients who also owns and continues to build her own law firm.
When I’m at the office, my attention is continually pulled between serving my clients (working IN the business), building the practice (working ON the business), thinking about my training schedule for my next race, and of course, thinking about my family.
I bet you can relate.
Recently I decided to try a little experiment.
Rather than think about my life as a balancing act, I’m focusing on boundaries instead.
For example, when I’m in the office, it’s all about serving my clients. I’m working IN the business. Even though I’m my own boss, I pretend that I’m an employee of my law firm and every second I’m there is devoted to my clients.
However, when I leave the office for the day, I can shift gears and put on either my business development hat, my wife or mom hat, or my ultrarunning hat. When I’m in that other mode, that’s my focus.
Boundaries, not balance, is my new mantra.
So far so good. The past couple of weeks have been uber efficient in the office.
My Mother’s Day sneak away to Sandestin was all about me and recharging my batteries. (I’d like to say that I never checked my emails but I’d be lying. At least I was conscious of the fact that I was breaking my “boundary” rule when I sneaked at peek at them.)
I’m learning to put down the iPad and phone when I get home to devote my undivided attention to Andrew and the kids if they are home (they are teenagers mind you).
I encourage you to impose some boundaries in your life today. You can start by time blocking—blocking time on your calendar for work, errands, spending time with family, time for yourself, etc. Sounds corny but if you’re like me and live by a busy schedule, this really works.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to block off time to call the office to update your Family Succession Plan. Your family will thank you for saving them time, money, and legal hassles. Our office number is 850-439-1191 or you can book your appointment online here.
In case you’re wondering, I wrote this email during my business development time block. And yes, since I get asked this question frequently, I do write all of my own emails.
Kristen “Setting Up Some New Boundaries” Marks