Should we strive for work/life balance?

Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011 by GTD Times Staff

Q: You talk about attaining balance in whatever you’re most positively engaged in, rather than trying to juggle life vs. work. Could you elaborate, and why is this effective?

David Allen: When you’re most productively engaged with whatever you’re doing, you won’t be concerned about balance, other projects, other things. You’ll simply be “on.” Time will disappear. There will be no sense of overwhelm. There will be no question about “work/life balance.” Those questions and issues only show up when you haven’t appropriately handled the specific issues, projects, problems ,or opportunities in either realm. If you know and incorporate the best practices about how to put things onto “cruise control,” whether they’re finished or not, you can be fully present with whatever you put your attention on.

4 Responses to “Should we strive for work/life balance?”

  1. Matt says:

    I understand where you are coming from – when immersed in something that you enjoy, everything else seems to become secondary, but this is when others, including those we love and/or most respect, sometimes remind us that we have lost our work/life balance. Not questioning work/life balance doesn’t mean that we have found work/life balance.

    In my view some things can’t (and shouldn’t) just be put on “cruise control” (even when we like to think that might be possible) – that often means we are taking them for granted, and that can be a dangerous place to be.

  2. Luke says:

    You might find Dan Thurmon’s web site ( interesting. I had the privilege to see him speak live a couple of years ago and I had a paradigm shift about balance. It’s not possible to always remain in balance; if you’re totally balanced you’re not in motion. You have to be “off balance on purpose” to make forward moving progress in any area of your life.

  3. Mark Hartl says:

    There`s nothing else to do than to ask who, what and how we are doing, working, living and managing! I was driven trough my day, feared, stressed and extremely under pressure not only by boardmembers, shareholders and success orientation, no I was pressurized by my own aims. At least it was a book that led me in a new direction. “When God Wasn’t Watching, the Devil Created Business” by JR Zyla ( gave me the questions to reflect what I was doing, how i lived and how future should look like. And he gave the answers too, how we might have the same success as we are used to without a loss of lifequality. Really more than readable, although it needs a little bit of “mindchanging”.

  4. Todd Stanfield says:

    I think “social equilibrium” may be a better term than balance:

    I think the key is to renegotiate agreements in either or both work/life relationships. If so much is demanded of you (due to others expectations or your own) in one area, such that you don’t have enough resources (energy, time) to be fulfilled in the other, then you have to renegotiate agreements with yourself & others.

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