Five Consequences of a Life Out of Balance

If you are working more than fifty-five hours a week, you are working too much and likely out of balance. You may be able to work more than this for a season, but it is not sustainable. If you persist in working this much—or more—something will eventually break.

A Business Person Trying to Maintain His Balance - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bowie15, Image #13200637

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bowie15

When I first began my publishing career, I was determined to succeed. Part of what drove me was fear. I didn’t have any experience, and I was scared to death I would be found out.

However, I was also driven by the desire to achieve. I would later learn from the StrengthsFinder™ test that my top strength is “Achiever.” As a result, I loved climbing the corporate ladder, moving from one level to the next.

In those early years, I would arrive at the office at 5:00 a.m. and not leave until 6:00 p.m. Since I would usually be at my desk during lunch, this was thirteen hours a day. I would almost always go into the office on Saturday, too. I was routinely working seventy hours a week.

My dear wife, Gail, was patient, but with several small children, she really needed relief. It took some serious marriage counseling for me to realize that my work/life balance was totally out of whack. It was simply not sustainable.

Think of it this way: If you are working more than fifty-five hours a week, you are out of balance. You are putting at risk at least five very important assets.

  1. Your health. Early in my career, I thought I could get by by eating junk food and not exercising. However, I learned that this will inevitably catch up with you. How many people do you know who have died young, simply because they refused to take care of themselves?
  2. Your family. You can’t afford a divorce. The cost is incalculable. Just ask those who have gone through one. You also can’t afford to ignore your children. If you don’t invest in them now, you will be forced to spend time with them later—in rehab, in juve, or worse.
  3. Your friends. Sadly, I didn’t really have any close, personal friends until about five years ago. I thought that my work colleagues and church acquaintances were enough. Not so much. I have several great friends now that mean the world to me. But I must have margin in my life to invest in those relationships.
  4. Your effectiveness. I think you are the most productive when you are relaxed. Work is like golf—or any sport. The harder you work, the less effective you’ll be. You are the most productive when you are not stressed. The number of hours you work has almost zero correlation with your effectiveness.
  5. Your example. Your people will unconsciously mimic you. They can’t help it. As a leader you set the pace. If you work seventy hours a week, your people will think they must work seventy hours a week. Most of them won’t be able to keep up. And you will be responsible for the consequences.

Don’t get me wrong. I still work hard. But now I have boundaries—and balance. I get into the office at 8:30 a.m. and I leave promptly at 6:00 p.m. I also work for two hours on Sunday evening, preparing for the new week. In total that’s about 50 hours—give or take.

If you want to get your life back into balance, I suggest that you grab a copy of my free e-book, Create Your Personal Life Plan. It will equip you to live on-purpose, making time for those things that matter most.

Question: Is your life is in balance? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/jonmholcomb Jonathan Holcomb

    Really good post. My wife and I are reading on this subject in one of Andy Stanley’s older books, “Choosing to Cheat”. Great book on what happens when work and family collide and the consequences we face when we choose to cheat our family.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We originally published that book. I agree it is a great one!

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    It’s not too surprising to see that the number of our works has almost zero correlation with effectiveness. Being relaxed and focused goes a long way, but we must be willing to take the time to relax and focus!

  • http://www.inspirebusinessconcepts.com Scott Arrieta

    Wow. This is a great post. Thanks for being so vulnerable here. I’ve had to learn this lesson myself fairly recently, and it really helps to have someone at your level validate the premise that work isn’t and shouldn’t be everything.

    There was a period of my career when I became addicted to my own success. Everything seemed to be going my way, and like a junkie trying to perpetuate a high, I just kept going back for more. Before long, I was working 60 hour weeks, neglecting my friends, and becoming more and more self-centered by the day.

    What finally snapped me out of it was when an old mentor of mine took me out to lunch one day and confronted me about it. He pointed out that as soon as I had attained the same job level as he had, I became very cold towards him. Thinking back, I knew this to be true. Consciously or subconsciously, I had seen him as competition for that next promotion, and had robbed myself of one of the best mentors I’ve every had as a result.

    Your post was a great reminder of why it’s important not to become that person ever again.

    Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank God for friends like that!

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaSandefur Joshua Sandefur

    This hits home with me in a little different way, but it still reigns true. Thankfully at my employment, I can only work 40 hours because overtime is not approved and I am not on salary but hourly. My schedule is varied with my days off being different each week. I also write each day towards completing a manuscript. These five areas definitely bring some reality of what is truly important in a person’s life. I am going to take some time today to look at the areas of my life where things can be adjusted to bring priority to these areas. Thank you for this post.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to the part of following someone’s example. If I see someone working that many hours, then I start to take that on as well. It’s the last thing I want to do. I appreciate the authenticity in your posts.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    As a pastor, I find it ironic that you criticize anonymously, don’t you yourself dislike when someone criticizes you anonymously?

    Like Michael said, Jesus took regular time away from others. We can’t serve people if we work our selves to death. And just like example 4: The number of hours you work has almost zero correlation with your effectiveness.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    AMEN! I worked myself out of a job by working 60 hours a week when I re-organized the Chamber of Commerce in my town. I lugged this two-ton-tillly up the mountain and after 18 months, the new president decided he wanted to go in a “different” direction. After a couple of years of cogitating, I realized he really was opposed to Jesus in me. Oh, well, live and learn and forgive! I should exercise more, and I should do more things outside than just mowing the lawn. Knowing it and doing it are two different things. Only God can give me strength to break out of this mold and into a more healthy way of living. Although, today I am doing what I love and what God has motivated me to do which counterbalances with much, much lower stress levels.

  • Anonymous

    We had an insightful conversation about addictions around our dinner table. Our kids were free to tell my husband and I what they thought were our addictions. By far, my kids said I was a workaholic. Ouch. I am doing better, but I am alert to it. Lord Jesus, help me.

  • Travis Dommert

    Brilliant. Are people listening? This is truth…as real as it gets. Life is not about how high you can swing your pendulum, only to have it swing back the other way (hard at times); it’s about keeping your tire full, round, and rolling in the right direction. Work, love, play, give thanks…repeat.

    This goes beyond personal definitions of success. As the leader, you set the tone and definition for success for your entire organization. You must have faith that building great people is great business.

    What would the customer experience be like if your people were encouraged (by example) to be balanced, engaged, passionate, well-rounded, REAL people? How does this idea effect loyalty, retention, recruiting, productivity…have faith, this works.

    • TNeal

      Love your “tire full, round, and rolling in the right direction” analogy.

  • Anonymous

    I do my best to make sure that the hours I spend in the office is quality work time. It’s so easy to get caught up in 2-3 conversations and a good 2 hours is gone. Our office is full of open cubicles and it’s easy to get caught up in side conversations. I keep my MP3 player with me now.

    I’m amazed that 2-3 hours over the weekend will be more productive than 8 hours during the week. I’m trying to reverse that.

    I really appreciate this post. When I read the Word I’m amazed at how balanced Jesus was. He slept, he didn’t heal everyone who was sick and he had good friends.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep. And I gave Himself a three-year window to get it all done. Really amazing when you think about it.

  • http://twitter.com/BrettVaden Brett Vaden

    I am trying to create what I call “safe sacred space” in my home. To do this, I have to create boundaries to protect my family, my own well-being, and my relationship with Jesus Christ, so that outside responsibilities don’t encroach on what’s most important. Easier said than done, but it must be done.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Conversely (and I think this is what you are also saying), it helps to have dedicated work space.

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    While I am not in a position of leadership in my company I can see how important this balance is. I was just reading through your Life Plan e-book last night and realized some things that need to change if I want to reach my ideal future. Thanks for sharing these insights.

  • Brian Gentry

    Your article is timely. Been spending a lot of time reflecting on this the past few days. I “hit the wall” a few years ago and made some much needed changes, but I’ve found that a balanced life takes maintenance.
    Thanks for sharing your insights and life experiance.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have to routinely recalibrate my life. Maintaining balance takes conscious, deliberate effort!

  • http://blog.capturingcourage.org Cyndy Lavoie

    I love this post! I have only in the last year found ‘my stride’ so to speak, where I am working about 50 hours a week and loving it. Finally I am in fifth gear going down the highway, and not trying freeway driving in 3rd gear, which of course is exhausting.

    As a woman I’ve had a lot of pressure to ‘do less’, and while this might make sense to a lot of people around me, it is not my optimum pace, and I only found myself more tired and ultimately depressed and certainly unfulfilled.

    Since finding my stride, my energy is up, my health is improving, my relationships are richer because I have so much more to bring to the table, and I am loving life! So thank-you for stating that a balanced week has 50+ hours of work in it, I give a hearty Amen!!

  • Rabrooks1

    Thanks for the great reminder. Balance has been a key word for me for many years, but it is so easy to get ‘out of balance.” Anything out of balance eventually breaks or ends up in a ditch.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a perfect extension of the metaphor.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    Thank you for this. I used to work at a major tech company and averaged 60 hrs a week for about 6 months before leaving that job. In just that 6 months it took a toll on my marriage, kids and life outside of work. I’m at a job now that definitely promotes a more healthy work/life balance and am very grateful for that.

    Thank you for the reminder about friends. I’m in a “season” of life where I’m juggling work and family while finishing an MBA. Fortunately I will be graduating this summer, but I feel like these 2 years have been kind of lonely in the friend department.

  • http://frankjkenny.com Frank J. Kenny

    Thanks for posting this Michael. I have often correlated long hours and activity with effectiveness. I know better now but still find myself putting to much time into doing it, doing it, doing it (hat tip Michael Gerber).

    Frank

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Michael Gerber is great. He had a huge influence on me.

  • Anonymous

    I found myself in this very same predicament. I am working 70+ hours on my business in order to make it a success. However, I’m neglecting the people that mean the most to me, my wife and daughter. This post helped to put things in perspective for me. I truly need to prioritize and start on your Personal Life Plan immediately.

  • http://www.livewithflair.blogspot.com/ LivewithFlair

    Great words today! I just learned from my One-Eyed Cat, Jack, the importance of basking in the sun and resting. I literally stopped working to enjoy the sun with him. Here’s a picture, enjoy: http://livewithflair.blogspot.com/2011/03/sneaking-up-on-jack-i-caught-him-doing.html

  • http://www.jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy@confessionsofalegalist

    As you point on in your ebook about creating a personal life plan, sometimes we just let things happen in life. We can make choices about things like this, but it does take time and effort to put a good plan in place. Bad things happen to both good and bad people, but some respond and come up with a good plan to deal with it.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    I like the concept of alignment. It is a much different picture when personal life and professional life can support one another and enhance one another versus when they are in conflict.

  • http://twitter.com/KarynBrownlee Karyn Brownlee

    I’d love a copy of the Life Plan e-book. I tried to get it following the directions, but my form may have landed in pile for “completed requests” since I’m already a subscriber. Many blessings to you for a great day!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Email me at michael dot hyatt at gmail dot com and I will send you a link.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    You are so right. It is incredibly easy to spend hours and hours in our digital environment – doing good things; yet, to the exclusion of family and friends. I think this would be a good place to put some boundaries on how much time we give to these different activities – at least that is what I am trying to work on.

    • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

      Well said, Steven. I personally try and keep my evenings free of social networks to spend time with my wife. I don’t always succeed though :)

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Same David! I too go through similar struggle.

  • http://twitter.com/kpalmer71 Kerry Palmer

    Michael,

    You are really singing my song with this one! I have seen people get completely burned out because all they did was work. They wake up one day and realize that their kids are gone, and they simply can’t get those years back.

    A few weeks ago, our former pastor was preaching on this topic while filling in for the current pastor. I was sitting on the second row with my son’s head in my lap. The preacher looked right at me, in the middle of his sermon, paused, and said, “Kerry, you be sure and spend time with those kids.” I nodded as my eyes welled up with tears for a moment. What a wake up call!

    I firmly believe that this concept is very important. Thanks so much for posting on it!

  • http://www.dailyreflectionsforsingleparents.blogspot.com/ Scoti Springfield Domeij

    Great advice. The problem? When you work for a “ministry” that sets unrealistic deadlines. I once worked on a wonderful project harnessing my creativity and ministry passion. Marketing set the launch dates of the series. However, the deadline wasn’t based on a realistic production schedule. Unfortunately, the project managers were too busy being afraid of the famous founder, pandering for his affirmation or jockeying for more power. Another team member and I sacrificed our health and our families to work long hours to make those deadlines. When the project neared completion my team member and I suffered from sleep deprivation and depression due to sheer emotional and physical exhaustion. Even though I LOVED the project, I often envisioned that ministry’s inner workings as nothing but a bunch of gears turning and grinding away, shearing off human arms, legs and eventually hearts and faith—crushed between dysfunctional political workings. I often wondered, “How can God bless a project covered in blood?”

    The result? The project made the author beaucoup bucks and famous. The ministry raked in dollars. God used what I loved most about that series and felt most passionately about–His Word–to impact millions of Christian’s understanding of Scripture.

    Was it worth it? My sons who’d loved, loved, loved that ministry saw that ministry as nothing but a sham, a business—not an example to follow. If the children of employees of ministries aren’t beneficiaries of a ministry’s mission statement, pray tell, what’s the purpose of that ministry? Does living out the gospel start in our ministries or does it merely project an image to donors? Hmmm…shades of Sermon on the Mount.

    Once when I shared a sliver of my experience, I was slammed by “Christian” commenters who said, “You did it to yourself.” Possibly. I bought into “sacrifice for Christ,” translated “the ministry.” But as a single mom not receiving court-ordered child support, I felt desperate to provide for my family. When you rattle doorknobs-to-new-opportunities that don’t swing open and you’re cornered, you work hard to just survive.

    Now I work in my home business caring for disabled individuals. I love them, treat them with respect and enrich their lives. And my precious gifts from God make it possible for me to write, minister to others and live a peaceful life. Now when the unexpected sabotages my daily plans, I actually possess the power to set boundaries and move deadlines forward. I’m humbled and thank God every day for how he has blessed my responsible, reliable, honest, wonderful sons and my life. And that project that blew apart equilibrium in every area of my life? I still LOVE God’s amazing truths revealed by that series, what I learned, and feel very happy about what God taught me about Himself as a result of that annus horribilis.

    Lessons learned? 1.) The disconnect between what Christian media empires say publicly and how they actually act privately. 2.) I no longer am willing to offer my God-given gifts to further someone else’s agenda—especially when they fail to thank or value their people. 3.) I evaluate the fruit of those with the power to make a difference or lead by example. Do they ignore or engage in respectful dialogue with the voices of those investing their time, hearts and lives in their “ministry” visions?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. What an experience. It sounds like you have really learned from it. Tragically, I know many similar ministries.

      • http://www.dailyreflectionsforsingleparents.blogspot.com/ Scoti Springfield Domeij

        I waited an hour after the words streamed through my fingers and felt frightened to click “Post as” and then castigated myself this afternoon for posting it. At the time, I never, ever guessed God would use my second worst life disenchantment to free me to know his grace and peace in my life today. I would not trade that experience because it made me know (epignosis) God and trust His Word in ways I wouldn’t otherwise. Could write a book “When Christians Don’t Make Sense, God Does.” He really, really does. (Self-critique: Always delete the adverb “really.” Smile.)

    • TNeal

      Powerful imagery with the grinding wheels followed by a challenging question: “How can God bless a project covered in blood?”

      Sounds like you embraced wisdom from the experience and are able to translate your experience into helpful advice to others. A well-written, clear picture.

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    Hey Mr. Hyatt, I just wanted to ask you your opinion on wordpress.com. I am thinking about swicthing to this from my webs blog. The only thing I am hesitant on is the stuff that I have already posted. I do not want to lose those posts because they generate traffic. Do you think I should still switch?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I can’t answer that. I’m sorry. I am not familiar with webs at all.

  • Andrew Acker

    Achiever as the #1 strength, great ally and enemy. It can be especially bad when responsibility is my #2. This post gives great precaution to possible work/life tendencies and habits that could become a lot worse for me in the future if unresolved. It is amazing how fear can drive us in moments of uncertainty. Sometimes it’s fear of, other times it is pride of not wanting to lose credibility or seem like I don’t have all the answers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, fear and pride are a witch’s brew!

  • http://www.allgroanup.com Paul Angone

    This last month I launched a website about the same time my wife “launched” our first baby girl, which if you can believe, was about the same time sleep became a distant memory. Some might call this poorly planned on my part…I call it…VERY poorly planned…

    It’s seems even harder nowadays when we’re trying to pursue those big dreams on top of our 40 hour, on top of our family. It seems the dream is to have it all. But is this even possible??

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think you can have it all, but maybe not all at once. There are different seasons of life. Some things have to go during certain seasons. That’s why it is important to be intentional and decide with your spouse what you are going to cut back on in order to maintain balance.

      • http://www.allgroanup.com Paul Angone

        Thank you Mr. Hyatt for this advice. I have taken it to heart. Definitely a continual conversation I need to have with my wife…

        Being mentored through a blog across the countryby a CEO….I love technology…

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    Thank you so much for your honesty! Many, many years ago I was hired for a position in which I was promised, “Oh, no more than 45 hrs per wk. tops.” After a mere five days, 45 hrs easily turned into 50+. I had a husband and a young child at the time. As you indicated, we learn from our mistakes.

    I learned. Fast! I had a decision to make. Almost 17 yrs. later, I know I made the right one!

  • http://twitter.com/dbonleadership Dan

    Great points on having a balance in life. I think as leaders one of our first priority’s is to be able to lead our self’s. Maintaining a balance in life is key to leading yourself.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree with this. It starts with us!

  • http://taminprogress.com tam

    #4. I’ve worked under highly stressful situations, and people, and have always produced the very worst of my abilities from doing so.

  • http://bentune.blogspot.com/ Ben Tune

    “Part of what drove me was fear. I didn’t have any experience, and I was scared to death I would be found out.” That reminds me of something I wrote in my journal once:

    Every day I expect someone will discover how truly incompetent I am.
    They will discover I have been faking everyone out.
    Not on purpose. I work hard. I want to do a good job. I just don’t get it sometimes. Most times.

    I’m glad to be past those feelings – and I’m sure you are, too. My life is more balanced now than it has been in a long time.

    Thanks for being vulnerable again.

  • Mom-of-3

    Great reminder to all, including us that don’t have the “paying” jobs too. As a stay-at-home mom I have found that I forget to balance my life with “me” time. I’ve changed that this year with exercise and doing one of the things I love the most: reading! I am going back to work soon and plan to keep those things in place when the new responsibilities start to try their hand at creating imbalance:-)

  • Krysta Masciale

    I love this post. I too have Achiever in my Top 5 and have to constantly reel myself back if I’m going to live a healthier, more holistic life. I can definitely tell when I’ve made the decision to let that strength dominate … my body feels it and so do my relationships. It’s funny how the simple pursuit of achievement can create an illusion of accomplishment, when often it’s merely a distraction from reality. Thanks for making me think :)

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    My life is in balance, and I keep it that way. In a meeting a CEO once told us all that if we weren’t putting in more than 60 hours a week, we probably shouldn’t be there. I ignored him, and am glad I did.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It would be interesting to see how his life turned out. Last night I was on a flight with a former CEO who was on his third marriage. He seemed very sad.

  • Monica

    I am a young widow – my husband died suddenly six days after my 33rd birthday. We have two children. Almost seven years have passed since that moment and the pace of these last few years trying to be mom and dad, breadwinner, financial manager, household manager, spiritual leader and so much more, has begun to catch up with me. Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

    Thank you for being willing to post about balance and setting boundaries. The Lord keeps putting this information in front of me and is using a variety of sources to help me see that I need to clear my plate and reprioritize where my I am spending my time.

  • hiseyes

    One may think that they are in balance but not know that they are out of balance. It is all a matter of point of reference and perspective. Who’s point of reference and perspective do you have?

  • http://twitter.com/jakemusselman Jacob Musselman

    This is such a good post, and the comments are fantastic. A hugely important conversation.

    I love the picture of the tightrope walker because I think it typifies what it means to stay in balance. When I used to hear the word “balance” I thought it meant every area equal all the time. And too me that was a ridiculous notion. There was no way I could see that working.

    Then I began to realize that not everything is equal-not everything deserves equal attention. And the things that are really important are not usually held in balance constantly. Just like the tightrope walker constantly adjusts where they are putting pressure on their foot, my life requires different pressures at different times. Sometime more pressure at work, sometimes more pressure on family. sometimes more pressure on fun, etc. When I came to understand balance as a constant process of changing the pressure of my life so I could remain standing, it completely changed my scheduling.

    As a side note, tightrope walkers with the really long poles that are used to help them balance easier, everybody needs those (i.e. church, friends, counselors, honest conversations with spouses).

    As one who is also an Achiever and loves to win, I cannot be reminded of this too much.

  • http://www.garythomas.co.uk Gsthomas

    Your statement about friends really hit home to me. I now have a small group of friends, a couple I have had over 10 years now, but have only recently started being honest with them about the troubles I’ve had, which has helped.
    Also, as a creative, especially writers, its tough to find stuff to do that ‘isn’t work’. Though I’m still working on that one. Thanks for posting.

  • CEB

    Nice post, but we must be careful with generalized comments about divorce. Certainly, divorce caused by a lack of life balance can and should be avoided. There are many instances though when divorce can be the best answer for husband, wife, AND children. As for the “cost,” in financial terms, it proved to be quite difficult. In my case, those difficulties have been minimalized by an amazing second marriage and my discovery of what unconditional love really is. As for rehab, juve, or worse…My two children have prospered, including a fine young man who attended the U.S. Naval Academy.

    Life balance is extremely important, but possessing the courage and wisdom to do what is right trumps it any day.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t disagree with this. Life is incredibly complicated. I would never presume to judge an individual on this matter.

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    Mike, I love and hate this. Love it, because it speaks to where I need to grow. Hate it, because it speaks to where I need to grow…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I so hear you!

      • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

        reading your book right now. enjoying it.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks, Jeff.

          • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

            great for airplanes!

  • Anonymous

    Great post. I am firm believer in working hard for 8 hours and getting home to be with my family. Focus on the task at hand in order to be productive so I don’t have to worry about work when I am at home.

  • RogerP

    Wow I needed this today, I serve as a V.P. in a large Christian Organization and the pressure is great but how much greater when out of balance… I am always wondering where is the line of working hard and then pride just getting in the way or pressures that are only there because I have created them. Thank you for being willing to say it is more then just working more hours, but rather the right hours applied to the right things! I am young enough that I hope that I learn it now before it is to late!

  • http://www.chadgibbs.com Chad Gibbs

    During my wife’s pediatric residency she averaged 70-80 hours a week. It probably wasn’t great for her health or our marriage, but it worked wonders for my short game. She finished in June and now works much more normal hours. My golf game has gone to the pits, but it’s great to have her back.

  • http://ichrch.com iCHRCH (Rich Langton)

    This is such great advice! It came just at a time when I had been thinking about the amount sleep I’m getting. On reflection I see that our sleep, or lack there of, is inadvertently a reflection of our perception as to who is in charge…. me, or God. Your post, reminds me of the same thing. When we work too much, we are essentially saying “I’ve got to get this all done because I’m in charge”. Yes work is important, and getting the right things done is of course important… but so too is balance…. so too is rest. In the end, I’m not in charge, but the God I serve is!

  • Tallytowneades

    For a lot of us the balance is the other way. We just try to get 40 to help out our family.

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

    Why is it that every time I read your blog, you hit me where I live?

    This topic is so relevant! I wouldn’t say that my life is out of balance, but it sure seems that way occasionally. We have five kids, ages 11, 8, 7, 2, and 3 months. Life can get VERY hectic right now for us.

    I have created a Life Plan, and have been using it for the last 6 months. My life is in more order now that it ever has been. But it can still feel overwhelming when tw kids are crying, two more are fighting, and one is pouting because she didn’t get her way. Or something.

    We’ve continually had to fight to keep things in balance. And to be honest, proper eating and exercise habits are the last thing we seem to have room for right now, even though we know just how crucial they are. And so, we’ve stepped up our efforts in those areas: LoseIt.com, gym membership, healthy foods vs fast food, etc.

    Thanks for a great reminder of why I do what I do!

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

    So many families are destroyed today due to what we label “work-ethic.”

  • http://todaymade.com/blog Garrett Moon

    Great advice Michael. I think the most important point you made was effectiveness. I am learning more and more that more time doesn’t necessarily lead to more work. Late nights and a few days of ultra-productivity almost always lead to a few days of low productivity.

    I think the hard part with this is just changing my mindset. It is really difficult to just turn off work, most of the time, especially as someone running my own company. We all need to learn how to make effective but balanced work a habitual part of our life. Or, as your book might say, a Life Plan.

    Thanks for the thought provoking post, as always.

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