Can You Make This Year Different?

There is a lot of cynicism about work /life balance in the real world of making a living. So most people accept the imbalance and live with it but the question is can you make this year different?


  • One thing you notice when you travel to less developed countries, the people are often happy and very family orientated even though they lack the material wealth.
  • Often the work/life balance only becomes important from an event in life such as a breakdown in health or the loss of someone close, then work/life balance becomes very focused.
  • During some coaching workshops some time ago, when I asked attendees if work was more important than family, 100% of attendees stated “NO”.
  • When I asked the same attendees if work more important than your health, 100% of them stated the same answer “NO“.
  • The question is if work is not the most important thing in life, why do so many of us make it so at the expense of everything else including their own health?
  • If you ask people, “What are the “5” most important things in your life that you deem to be for a successful life?”
  • As you may guess, many people usually state family, career, money, health, spiritual etc.
  • The interesting observation from this exercise, very few people ever mentioned themselves as an important area:).
  • Another was when people did not mention health, I put to them if they died from poor health, the other key areas would mean nothing!

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  J.R.R. Tolkien,


Again most people state the obvious but surprisingly work is not the most important when compared to family and health which does align with the reality that most people spend most of their time working.

  • Of these 5 areas, which is most important?
  • When I asked is Work more important than your Family, 100% folks stated “NO”.
  • When I asked is Work more important than your Health, 100% folks stated the same answer “NO“. and so on.
  • I then posed the observation with a question, that at least each area is important as each other and most people agreed they are at least EQUALLY IMPORTANT.


  • How much time do you spend on each area consider you have just stated they are at least equally important.
  • As you would imagine, there was a wide gap in time spent on each area with health and family coming way second best to work.
  • Any focus time on “Self” was really a non-starter:).
  • One statistic from many years ago, I recall,  was fathers in one country, spent less that one quality hour per week with their families but that has probably changed now.


  • It is a reality that we all have to work to earn money and work is always a priority but this exercise as a minimum provides a sanity check on your priorities in life.
  • Work is an important part of our lives but in the end, it should be a means and not be an excuse to sacrifice all the other key areas in your life.
  • Hopefully, this sanity check will help motivate you to put more emphasis on all your other important things in your life.


  • “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air.
  • You name them?—?work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
  • You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball.
  • If you drop it, it will bounce back.
  • But the other four balls?—?family, health, friends, and spirit?—?are made of glass.
  • If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered.
  • They will never be the same.
  • You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.” Brian Dyson, former vice chairman and COO of Coca-Cola