What if I told you that Amazon’s CEO is NOT a fan of the phrase “work-life balance”?
Don’t laugh at me. It’s true. A simple Google search can tell you about the April 2018 Awards Event he spoke at where he revealed his unique perspective.
Bezos believes that people should stop attempting to achieve “balance” with their professional and personal lives; he believes it implies a strict trade-off between the two. Instead, Bezos envisions a more holistic relationship between work and life outside the office. He even goes on to say that we should get rid of the word balance and aim for “work-life harmony” instead. You do not have to stay up late every single night or wake up at 4 a.m. to be successful at everything.
And as it turns out, the world’s richest man has a much different approach to work than you might imagine: He makes time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules few meetings, and still washes his own dishes.
Yet we hear the word “balance” thrown around daily. We often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to be successful at our job, fit, and still have time to be great partners and/or parents.
When I hear the word “balance” I imagine the Cat in the Hat. He’s balancing on the beach ball with the umbrella and the books and the tea cup and trying not to kill the fish.
And doesn’t that sound stressful? The idea that one misstep will send your perfectly balanced world down Alice’s rabbit hole.
So what if we just decided that we didn’t have to sacrifice something? That we can choose.
We just need to work on learning to be present and keep the important parts of our lives moving and not let one aspect of our lives outshine the others by too much.
It ties in nicely with CrossFit and the goal of trying to be a jack of all trades versus a specialist in just one thing. And also lead me to think of Jason Khalipa and the idea of the “AMRAP Mentality”.
If you don’t know, “AMRAP” refers to “as many rounds and reps as possible”. In fitness it means that you are doing as many reps of a given movement or movements for a certain amount of time. So what if you took that mentality outside of the gym and used it as a tool. To help you focus on whatever task you are doing and become WAY more productive.
When you use this mentality at the gym, you are focusing on your technique and efficiency with whatever you are doing. You are not thinking about if you took the chicken out of the freezer or checking your phone to see what your friends are doing on social media. Because guess what? There’s nothing you can do about those things while you’re working out.
When you leave the gym and get to your family, it means that you are fully invested in them and building memories. When you’re eating dinner, your phone is down and you are invested in the people around you and the food on your plate.
So often in an effort to achieve the much sought after “work-life balance” we end up trying to multi-task to make the most of every minute and end up doing a whole lot of nothing. Trying to send an email while talking to your co-worker and suddenly your email is full of typos and sent to the wrong person and you totally forgot whatever it was you agreed to help your co-worker with.
Slow down. Breathe. Give each task at hand your full attention and try to let go of the things that are out of your control. Believe me, I know this is much easier said than done. But hopefully, in an effort to slow down and focus on “harmony” rather than “balance” you’ll find yourself feeling a lot more productive and a lot less worried about falling off the ball and killing the fish.
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