#009: Is Work-Life Balance Really Possible? [Podcast]

In this podcast episode, I talk about work-life balance and whether or not it is really possible. In fact, I question the balance metaphor itself and pose an alternative that better describes what our focus should be.

I also share several examples from my own life, most notably a story from early in my marriage with Gail when I was working seventy hours a week.

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Episode Outline

If you are working more than 55 hours a week, you are likely working too much and out of alignment with your priorities.You may be able to work more than this for a season, but, ultimately, it is not sustainable. If you continue to work this much—or more—something is going to break.

You are putting five assets at risk:

  1. Asset #1: Your health.
  2. Asset #2: Your family.
  3. Asset #3: Your friends.
  4. Asset #4: Your effectiveness.
  5. Asset #5: Your influence.

You can achieve work-life balance—or better yet—align your practice with your priorities when you follow these five suggestions:

  1. Suggestion #1: Get crystal clear on your priorities.
  2. Suggestion #2: Schedule time for the things that matter most.
  3. Suggestion #3: Establish a set of non-negotiables.
  4. Suggestion #4: Focus alignment between your priorities and your practice.
  5. Suggestion #5: Accept the fact that there will always be tension.

Listener Questions

  1. Question #1: Ben Holbrook asked, “How do you manage work-life balance with a young family and the pressures of work?”
  2. Question #2: Bob Anderson asked, “What part is up to us and what part is up to God?”
  3. Question #3: Deirdre Baker asked, “How do you balance your work life with your home life when your office is in your home?”
  4. Question #4: Jeff Keady asked, “How do you achieve work-life balance when technology allows you to take your work everywhere you go?”
  5. Question #5: Stephanie Shackelford asked, “To be good at anything, it seems I have to give one hundred percent. How can I do this and balance work and life?”

Next week, I will be talking about “How to Shave Ten Hours Off Your Work Week.” If you have a question about that topic or anything related to improving your productivity, please leave me a voice mail. I’d love to hear from you.

Episode Resources

I mentioned the following resources in the show:

Show Transcript

You can download a transcript of this episode here.

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Question: How are you doing at the practice of priority management? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Most weeks I think I do fairly well.  As a family, we typically sit down at the beginning of the week to discuss our schedules for the week ahead.  This helps a lot.  I also am pretty clear about leaving the office at a reasonable time every night (with a very few rare exceptions).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent, Jon. Those two activities should keep you on-track. I think a weekly review and preview is essential.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      My wife and I review schedules on Sunday evening, after our small group is over and the kids are in bed.  Since Sunday is one of my busiest days, it’s helpful to wait until the day is over due to so many requests from church/youth members.  This way we have a chance to look at our week with everything on the table.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com/ Patricia Zell

    Just to add a nuance here–instead of making God a priority, we might make Him our life. Once I understood that concept, everything became easier. I can rely on His ability to give me the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that I need on a moment by moment basis. I rely on His goodness overcoming any evil and trouble that arise in my circumstances. I love His challenge (promise) found in Deuteronomy 30:20–“…that (you) might cleave to Him: for He is (your) life.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good distinction!

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I agree!  He is the first part of my day, and then is in the rest.  He is in the first part of my week, and then the rest.  He is central in my family and in my job.  But you said it much more clearly than I’ve thought it.  Thanks!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Speaking of Deuteronomy, the Shema (Deut 6:4-7) is a great banner for priority management and making sure the entire family knows what matters.

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    Great topic.  After 4 years as an elder at my church and the last 2 as Chairman of the Elder Board, I stepped down this spring.  I have 15 year old twins.  I have 3 years left with them at home (God willing!)  I wanted to be sure if I had extra time, I would be spending it where they are most, at their school.

    A good friend challenged me by telling me I was good enough to balance the leadership at church and the family responsibilities.  I told him I did not desire balance.  I wanted focus.

    I was not taking focus away from God, just from church leadership.  There are plenty of people who can lead the church, I am the only one called by God to lead my family.

    Besides, as soon as a leader believes he/she is indispensable, that leader needs to take a break and reflect on what they are doing and why they doing it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Dave. Great decision.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      That decision exemplifies why you were an elder!  Great decision!  I just lost two key youth sponsors, who decided to make more time for their grandkids, for the same reasons, they will soon be graduating and moving on.

      Great example!

      • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

        Thanks Jeff.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          No problem!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       “I did not desire balance. I wanted focus.” Wow–I need to think on that today!

      • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

        In today’s world, everyone wants something to be my priority.  I always say “If everything is a priority then nothing is.”

        I learned I can not gain focus when I add something to my to do list.  If something is added, something must be deleted.  The thing I add has to be a bigger priority than the thing I will delete or else it won’t get added.

        More random thoughts on priorities.  I am not always great at these but I am trying.

        • Jim Martin

          Dave, you are right.  “If everything is priority, then nothing is.”  Well said.  I want to remember that one.

      • Jim Martin

        That particular line stuck was significant for me as well.

    • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

      Excellent viewpoint….well said.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I am really enjoying your podcasts, Michael. It’s like getting a free audio book each week! When it comes to setting priorities, I always go back to my Top-6 daily planner.  (Your readers can download one here http://goals4u.us/GSTrDD) This simple paper based page has six boxes at the top for my most important items of the day. I just spend a few minutes in the morning and fill these in. Once they are filled in, I put together a quick to-do list at the bottom of the sheet. I don’t get too fancy, but this just works for me. If I need to take it with me, I can take a picture of it with my cell phone and store it in Evernote. 

     What I’m thinking of doing is going back to a letter sized zippered binder, where I can put together my short and long term goal sheets along with my Top-6 sheets. The cool thing with this is I’ll be able to take along my iPad. While I like technology, when it comes to planning, I still like paper. It allows me to “spread out” and make notes, draw pictures, and put ideas together. I used one of these binders for years, with great success. Maybe it’s time to try one again. That way I have one place for everything I need to be productive.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      You might try Workflowy. I am totally digging it. It is a great way to organize almost everything. I am still using Evernote to store web clips, documents, and receipts. But I am using Workflowy to store every kind of list, e.g., my 2012 goals, blog post topics and outlines, speech topics and outlines, etc.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        I agree with you on Workflowy. I like its simple interface and familiar “outline” structure. It’s a great place to put all of the stuff rattling around in your head. And as you mentioned the other day, its hashtag feature makes sorting a breeze. I actually used it this morning to fill in my daily planner. I’m still in hybrid mode. I like technology for data and appointments. I love paper for planning and taking notes. I guess it’s because I’m a kinesthetic learner.

        Your post today gave me some new ideas. I really want to explore the idea of a portable command center, that includes the best of paper and technology. I find myself working more and more at Starbucks and other remote locations. Having something that is light and portable, yet has a place to store pens, pencils, memory cards, and adapters, really appeals to me. I’m sure some companies have built something like this that is designed to work with the iPad. I’ll let you know what I find.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Cool, John. Let me know what you come up with. Better yet, blog it!

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          I’m in the same boat.  I love my iPad and Evernote, but I still find myself reaching for a pen a lot!  And the journal companies have stepped it up as well!  There are a lot of great paper products on the markeet that I love!  Looking forward to what you find!

          • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

            I’m with you…try as I might…it’s REALLY hard to let go of my Pilot Precise extra fine points and my notebook.  :)

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            My weakness is Field Notes Brand paper journals (or Moleskinnes, for thhat matter…).  I have a soft spot in my heart for a great journal!

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com/ Chris Jeub

    Your concluding idea of “healthy tension” is spot on. I’ve given up years ago my hope to find nirvana in my life, instead giving attention to the tension in my life and being fine with that. Your podcast reminds me of a few tense issues that I need to give some thought to. Thank you!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      There’s huge freedom in finding peace in the tension. That’s what I’m focusing on right now.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

    I love your perspective shift from balance to priority management. One way I like to think of it is striving for obedience and not necessarily balance. That helps me to view my life more holistically instead of seeing the various areas as competing with each other.
    It seems with technology (like you talked about in question 4), the struggle to maintain our priorities will only get worse. It’s so easy to lose focus of our priorities now – we’re more and more required to be intentional.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I agree with your comment on obedience. Sometimes obedience requires a lack of balance. If balance was my goal, my husband and I wouldn’t have taken in three more children last year. But it was a matter of obedience. So we’re living in the tension, while trying to make sure our priorities don’t waver. Obedience is the driving force, not a hope for balance.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That’s a great distinction, Michele. Thanks.

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    Work-life balance is absolutely possible.  It is totally about how much it is a priority for the company/organization as well as each individual.  

  • http://bbcjc.com/ Randy Dignan

    Great read and podcast…  One way I try to remember is to focus on my many hats and roles as they come up…  It is helped and emphasized in Scriptures…  Notice…  God and Father, Lord and Saviour, Comforter and Convictor…  Same applies to us…  I am a father and a daddy, a husband and a lover, a pastor and a preacher, etc…  As God He says Thou shalt not, as Father He says I love you!  Jesus…  As Lord He will rule and reign, as Saviour He stretched out his arms and died for us!  I believe in principle this applies all across the board…  I have to work, but I also have to rest, and I have to play!  As a family man I must maintain that balance by looking to God as my example!  Thank you once again and make it a great day!

  • RebeccaLivermore

    This is definitely an ongoing struggle, particularly in seasons of change. For instance, the first of the year I left my traditional job and started my own business and am working from home. With multiple clients to manage, and working in a home office, I’m still working through how to keep everything going smoothly and everyone taken care of. I found that I had to take care of some of my own work (e.g. writing blog posts) before getting started on client work for the day or else I never had time and energy for what is important to me personally. 

    I’ve also had to come to grips with the fact that for right now, I can’t handle taking on any more clients until I get into a better groove with the ones I already have. It’s not always easy to accept my personal limitations!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Not easy at all, but knowing your limits helps you thrive in your strengths!

  • http://www.kentrecommends.com/ Kent Faver

    Loved the podcast and the comments this morning – really good stuff.  One of my pet peeves in this area is talking it, but not living it.  We still overly-admire the over-achiever (over-worker), and – at times – almost become judgmental of those that purposly cut back on work, exercise, etc. to re-balance their lives.  I do think there is balance for everyone, and the tension is felt daily for almost all of us.  Thanks Michael.  

    • RebeccaLivermore

       Kent, you make an excellent point here. I think one reason that so many people work crazy hours, etc. is that there is some level of validation in our culture, work places, etc.  Generally speaking, people aren’t proud of a calendar that has a lot of blank space, but almost brag about how busy they are. I think we tend to think that being crazy busy is a sign of success, so the busier we are, the more we “prove” how successful we are.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree.  We have been brainwashhed for “efficiency” and as a result, we don’t know what to do with down time.  We must be “lazy” if we don’t have anything that we must be doing… right then.  It’s killing us.

        • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

          as a recently unemployed mom of teenagers, I am shocked at my contentment level.  I am available for people. It doesn’t pay great but it matters. I also have time to pray deeper, more frequently with and for people. Seems as though presenting, in myself the Spirit of God to people is valuable. I have started to write also. Times and seasons. Kids almost home from school. I will be ready to engage with them. Stewardship.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            That sounds great.  I’m almost jealous.  But I know for most people, including me most of the time, if I’m not “doing” something, I wonder what I could be doing to make “better use” of my time.  It’s a twisted thought our culture has adopted…

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Excellent insight, Kent. We certainly idolize achievement. Working hard and realizing results isn’t a bad thing, but it’s become the core of our value.

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    Michael, this may sound a bit off-subject, but do you try to attain SEO on your podcast posts? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Not on the podcast per se, but on the WordPress post in which the podcast is embedded. Thanks.

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    I just thought of a possible podcast tip (although this is one that might be moot depending on your goals). You asked your comment question around the middle of the podcast–by the time it was over, I had already forgotten what the question was. It might be valuable to re-ask it at the end (or wait until the end in the first place).

    I think I’m fine on priority management, but that’s mainly because I don’t have a lot of pressures on me. I only work 40 hours a week, so that’s never a problem. I do enjoy volunteering at church, playing softball, working out, and working on my blog, but these don’t take a ton of time and can be easily rescheduled.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your input. This is helpful.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    This is not a huge area of temptation for me.  I decided long ago that I would establish my priorities, and I think I have them set straight.  Of course, from time to time there is the exception, such as summer camps for our youth ministry, but mainly, each week is set with time for my wife and kids ahead of my ministry/job. 

    In this order:  God and my relationship with him, my family (wife then kids), my close friends/accountability relationships, personal leadership development, my career of youth ministry. 

    I decided several years ago to create a recurring appointment on my schedule for all day on my days off.  That way, when something else vies for my time, I have the ability to say no, my calendar is full on that day.  This has done more for protecting my time for my family than almost anything else.  I’ve done the same thing with my daily time with God.  It has helped me tremendously.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Your strategy of scheduling these all-day, recurring appointments is spot on.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Thanks!  But I have to give the credit to a man with great wisdom who spoke into my life many years ago.  It was (and is) great advice.

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    It depends on the day. Some days my priorities are right in line with the way I spend my time/energy. Other days, I’m in reactive mode, moving from task to task just trying to keep from drowning. For the most part, I know what’s important and try to keep that at the forefront. But my Achiever strength often drives me to do it all, rather than focus intentionally on what’s most important. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      As a fellow-Achiever, I feel your pain, sister! You are doing a great job—probably better than you think. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)

  • Laura

    This is offered to help the fathers who struggle with balance between work and parenting… God provides a built-in gauge for balance… it’s called the MOTHER.  Instead of waiting for the valve to explode with a crisis, regularly ask your wife to communicate how both of you can meet the needs of the children. She shouldn’t have to feel like she is being selfish or inadequate just because she needs your input with parenting. If it helps, schedule time with your wife on your calendar. It’s definitely a challenge to give premium time to both family and work, but a man’s reputation and ministry is enhanced or limited by what he achieves with his family.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a good word, Laura. Thanks for sharing.

  • BillintheBlank

    I confess to reacting to your use of the word tension although I do like it better than the word temptation. But upon a moment’s reflection I think tension is the right word. Tension means movement and movement means life. If we are alive, we’re always in motion with tension between where we are now and either to where we’re intentionally going or to where we’re unintentionally sliding.

    Now back to your podcast. Thanks.

  • http://www.ShannonMorganCreative.com/ Shannon

    Still listening to the podcast but really enjoying it. You’re speaking directly to the issues I’ve been struggling with lately. I need to do calendar triage, too. In fact, this summer, I’m going to practice the fine art of saying No.
    I like how you framed the idea of work-life balance as priority management instead. That’s giving me a lot to think about and I’m going to review your Life Plan ebook again soon.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Shannon. I’m glad it’s been helpful.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Not as good as I should be, but with a BIG project coming up I working very hard to get the proper balance!

  • Tammy_Skipper

    I have enjoyed the format so far but can see the advantages of changes you mentioned. I definitely like hearing the questions from readers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tammy. I like hearing from listeners too!

  • http://www.theemptyinbox.com/ Michael Hawkins

    Another GREAT podcast, Michael.

    I know Cliff suggested you become more ‘conversational’, but I really like your format.  I think of your podcast as a learning/educational medium.  The structure is fine by me.

    {{I have a soft spot in my heart for numbered and bulleted lists.  Keep them coming!}}

    The listener feedback line is a nice addition.  Including the questions and answers in the ‘cast is a great way to make it more personable.

    Work / life balance.  Right.  That’s a tough one.  I think I do ‘okay’.  Always room for improvement.    “Balance” to me is about shifting my focus on what’s important at any given time.  I think it comes from my love for David Allen and the GTD methodology. 

    I call out the word “important” because THAT is where I really need to improve.  When I’m talking with my wife or kids, THAT’S what is important.  When I’m up to my ears in a spreadsheet at work, THAT’S what is important.  When I’m trying to be still and quiet, THAT’S what is important.

    My biggest fault is that I need to leave work — at work.  The 21st century and it’s high-tech, 24/7 connectedness is a double-edged sword.  I need to learn to turn off my work stuff when I leave the office.   And leave it off during my time at home — or at worst, not turn it back on until the rest of my family is asleep.  : – )

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Steph Shackelford

    Michael, thanks for this podcast and for answering my question about giving 100%. Your point about priority management was very helpful. I’ve been thinking about what my typical day looks like and seeing what I spend the majority of my time doing. Also, writing down “life appointments” in my calendar was a great tip! 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great. Stephanie. Thanks so much for your call. I really appreciated how concise and well thought-out it was.

  • http://www.UnwillingToSettle.com/ Greg L. Gilbert

    I’ll share the most meaningful story of balance as it was told to me in the early 90’s. This put balance in perspective for me. One of my mentors in life had been an HR manager for years. When I landed in HR, I tagged on to him.  I knew that I could learn from this gentleman.  We were out of town and had dinner one night and he asked me how old my girls were. They were probably in the 12 or 14 range. He said, you know I’ve been noticing that I’ve been getting late night and weekend e-mails and voicemails from you. He said, don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking them up at late at night and I’m not picking them up on the weekend but he said I want to share the bucket story with you.
    This occurred at the first management class he attended. He walked into the room and there was a bucket of water on a table.  They had to stick their finger down in the bucket of water, wipe it off, walk over to a bucket of sand or silt and then stick their finger down in the bucket of sand or silt, wipe their finger off and sat down. They didn’t have any clue as to why they had to do that.
    Their instructor came in and welcomed them to management and then he said you are probably wondering what the buckets are back there.  He said that bucket of water, you stick your finger in there and you occupy space, you pull it out and it fills right back in, just like you were never there. He said that’s this company. He said if you leave tomorrow, they’ll fill your job and it will be like you were never here.
    He said the second bucket, the bucket of sand or silt, you stick your finger in there and you occupy space but you pull it out and leave a void. He said eventually the sand and silt could shift around and fill back in, but it could take a long, long time for that to occur.  He said that bucket is your family.
    I cannot explain to you how much impact that had on me. How I had my priorities out of whack.  He couldn’t have hit me with a brick and got my attention any more, just by that bucket story. I immediately started changing, I am not saying I went from 70, 80 hours a week to 40 immediately, but I did begin re-prioritizing and realized that I never would get “caught up”. There were ALWAYS things to be done. Thank goodness I heard that story at a time in my life when I really truly needed to hear it. It did make a tremendous difference in how I prioritize my time and the things that I did.
    Through my small platform I’ve shared that with thousands. The student was ready and the teacher appeared as a story.

    • http://www.theemptyinbox.com/ Michael Hawkins

       Wow!  Great story.  Thanks for sharing!

      You’re spot-on:  we will never get it all ‘done’. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great story. I had one of my first boss’s share a similar one early in my career. It was something I never forgot.

  • 1pairofshoes

    I just finished listening to the podcast and a question came to mind. You made the statement early in the message that you thought that working more than 55 hours per week is too much. Do you include commute time as part of the 55 hours.  I travel 45 minute to 1 hour each way for my work. Thank you for all that you do.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I probably would not count that. The real issue is whether or not you still have time for the other aspects of your life. I’d probably use my commute for my personal development time. Thanks.

  • BenHolbrook1

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for answering my question regarding managing work-life balance with a young family.

    A good question i sometimes ask myself when reflecting on my day is “in what ways did i demonstrate grace of self” (taken from Jeff Bell – Making belief). It really does’nt matter that i did’nt accomplish everything on my to do list, tomorrow is another day! Thats definitely made easier when the non-negotiables you mention are in place.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ben, I appreciate you taking the time to call your question in. I thought it fit nicely with the program.

  • Marie

    I enjoyed your podcast today, but had a question running through my mind the whole time.  Short of marriage counseling, how do we lovingly confront a spouse who has priorities out of whack (working 70+ hours/week)?  He knows I don’t like it, but he sees it as his ministry and keep promising me things will change when we have children.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think you need to sit down and have a straight-forward conversation. Be calm but direct. He has to know that it matters and you are not content to let things go on as the are. If he doesn’t change now, he will never change when you ad children. Life will get even more crazy.

  • Amaryllis Sanchez

    This is great! I’m a family doctor, wife, Mom, writer, among others. Like most of us, I wear many hats and love using my gifts, love my family, love the people I serve. After my first pregnancy, I gave up delivering babies. After my second one, I gave up hospital work and began to work as an office-based physician. Some of my colleagues looked down on me while others encouraged and helped me to continue to seek God’s will for my personal and professional life. It was tough to do less than I knew I could do, but God gave me a great gift – His smile upon me, and His favor!

    With every choice I’ve made for my husband and family, God has brought a new opportunity to serve as a doctor. And what’s better, He has now opened doors for me to continue to care for people’s medical needs while using my gifts as a writer and speaker. If I hadn’t made the intentional choice to work less as a doctor and focus on my family, my other gifts would still be in the back drawer where they sat for years.

    I believe that God blesses our choices when we set our priorities according to His will as stated in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

    Thank you for a wonderful reminder and for the encouragement it provides us all!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank you for this living example. It is very inspiring.

      • http://www.drmarisfaithstop.com/ Dr Mari

         Thank you! And I hope you enjoyed a Sabbath rest the other day!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Another great podcast Michael! I finished listening to it on my way home from work. I couldn’t agree with you more that you need to set boundaries regarding your work schedule.

    My wife worked insane hours for the first 6 years of our marriage. Working 50-60 hours a week plus a drive of 40-50 minutes each way. It really affected our relationship and I think we’re still recovering.

    Thankfully she is no longer in that situation and is settling into a more comfortable work schedule and routine. 

  • Tina Owen

    I learned the work/life balance lesson the hard way. I used to think I had to be busy “doing something” all the time. Then physical burnout hit. I was forced to face what it was that made me so driven & what is really important to me. Now that Jesus has helped me work this out, I am so much happier & free to enjoy the life I’ve been blessed with!

    I’ve enjoyed your past podcasts, gleaning a lot from your shared wisdom. I heard last weeks about improving your podcasts. Today’s was a lot more conversational & seemed to flow real smooth. Keep up the good work!(:

  • http://twitter.com/aarongmyers Aaron G Myers

    Thanks for the great podcast.  Well timed for me and very helpful.  I’ve set some non-negotiables now for myself and look forward to establishing them in my life as I establish my business helping folks learn languages. Thanks.

  • http://www.FaithfulChoices.com/ Paula

    Michael, your vulnerability on this topic is amazing.  Thanks for your willingness to put yourself out there.  How long have you been married?  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’ve been married almost 34 years!

  • Chad Jackson

    Michael love your website and resources.  I told my brother about your website and he is hooked.  Just wanted to let you know, keep posting the transcript because I love to listen to you but today, I really wanted to read it.  It came through loud and clear for me.  Like your 55 hour benchmark.  I do think there are “times and seasons” in life that you have to work more but when I am at 60 – 70 hours I am usually burned out and not taking care of myself or my family.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Chad. I am glad to know that someone is using the transcript. Excellent!

  • http://jornadadeumlider.com Fernando Almeida

    I absolutely love your podcasts thus far. The mix of questions with content is great. Thank you for the insight on changing the focus from work-life balance to priorities management. I think that is really putting the finger on the core of the subject, and as such, as you well put it, this is a tension to manage rather than a problem to solve. Too often not understanding this type of dynamics is the cause of much conflict and frustration.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Fernando. I learned this from my coach at BuildingChampions.com years ago. I should have mentioned the company. The really help people with this.

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  • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

    Made me smile to listen to this podcast as part of my long run mix today. At mile 12 I hit wind and struggled the entire last 6 miles. Your personal ambition, examples and wisdom inspired further thought on what I call “stewardship”. I laughed at the stewardship of 3 hours of my life running. You made it valuable and entertaining/distracting. Thank you, again.
    Feedback: sound is much clearer and phone calls a good addition to the “lists”.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jackie. I appreciate your input!

  • http://twitter.com/patrnel Patrick Nelson

    Don’t think that the irony of listening to this podcast at 4:45am on my way to work was not lost… thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/patrnel Patrick Nelson

    On that note I was reminded of something I know that Andy Stanley advocates… “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”  As my time gets stretched as a leader, husband, father, Elder, and friend I don’t want to recoil from any of those because I am too busy.  I am challenged to continue to make investments in all of those areas even if from week to week they may be disproportionate.  It is the whole picture that we are seeking balance in and not just balance for balance’s sake but because it all flows out of a right understanding or the Christ centered life  that is focused on His glory and not our own.   

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This principle from Andy has been very helpful in my life as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Taylor/1286512656 Brian Taylor

    I’m actually finding this book titled “Your Life in Rhythm, ” quite interesting as it challenges conventional thinking about a balanced life. The author proposes the thought that much of life can be viewed as rhythmic, having ebbs and flows, highs and lows. He says that at certain moments of our lives, we can have need to be more focused in one area as opposed to another. The balance sought by many is as the see saw on the playground; difficult at best to keep level.

  • Jacob Lett

    Thank you for your honesty and openness in this podcast. I also enjoy your podcast format teaching with some questions and answers. I would personally like this more than just answering questions because each podcast has a focus. I am a new follower of your blog and look forward to learning more. Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/davehess Dave Hess

    Great podcast! Thank you so much for your insights on this important topic. I just subscribed and look forward to future episodes!

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  • Tamara

    Michael, I’ve been listening since the beginning and I love your podcast! I am a financial advisor and very linear in my thinking, so I like the “lists” and “steps” you outline.  I also thing the addition of listener questions is great.  Priority management is something I constantly struggle with.  I am a Christian, wife for 4yrs, mother of a 3 yr old, praise team/choir member, full time financial advisor for 15 yrs. When I was single, life was simple, and prioritization was easy.  Now that I have a family, and I am pulled in so many directions, it is so difficult to prioritize.  One minute, I am attending a networking event to meet clients to make a decent living in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area, the next minute, I am at a Christian homeschool conference to research educating my son. I walk into my house at 7:00 pm Thursday and feel overwhelmed because I need to decide whether I should do flashcards with my son who’s been at preschool for 11 hours, clean up the filthy house because it’s present state is stressful to me, pack my son up with a thermos of microwaved food and head to choir rehearsal that ends at 9:00 pm or collapse on the couch because I am truly exhausted after a two hour commute (notice my husband, exercising, friends or quiet time for me were not on the list).  What Advice would you offer a working mom that wants to please God as well as do all of the things that I have been called to do in this world?  Are there scripture references that would indicate that I am out of order?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I empathize with you, Tamara. Life can be overwhelming. Listen to my podcast for next week. It is about how to create more margin. I think it will be helpful to you.

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  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    I was on a walk while listening to this and it was great to hear the struggles you want through.  Thank you for sharing.
    Thank you Michael.

    K, bye

  • Kim Hall

    You are a tremendous inspiration. Thanks so much!

  • http://daredreamermag.com Ron Dawson

    I can’t believe how much a difference it made in my life when we cancelled our iPhone data plans (gasp!). We primarily did it to save money. But I discovered something: when I was no longer able to tweet, facebook or check email every second of the day, I was better able to engage in the world around me: my kids; nature; people watch; etc.

    I know having people cancel their data plans is unrealistic. But if you could have the discipline to not do any social media while out with the family, that would be huge.

    I wonder if there’s an app like Anit-Social for mobile devices?

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  • Joymount1

    I use “Anytodos” app om iPad it is produced by Keane &Able, find it really useful for managing all kinds of to dos. It uses quadrants . Hope this is helpful.

    I enjoy reading your posts

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  • Yvonne

    I’m having a horrible time as of late. I work a maximum of 40 hours, sometimes less. The nature of my job is so stressful and physically trying, when i get home, i no longer feel like doing anything. I haven’t worked on hobbies for over a year.