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The work/life balance tight rope

Written by Jill Farmer

“Jill, how can I have more work/life balance?”

It’s a question that comes up almost every time I do a keynote or corporate presentation.

I have a confession.
I kinda suck at work/life balance.

Pretty much since the first day of my first job in a TV newsroom, balancing my work life and my home life felt like I was on a high wire.

Once I had kids, that tightrope raised a lot higher and I got a lot worse at my balancing act (because I was carrying a lot more stuff on my shoulders and trying to learn to juggle at the same time).

So, I quit my job.
I thought that would solve the problem.
It didn’t.

I ended up in a different circus ring still wobbling on a high wire as I juggled a new bunch of “shoulds” in the air.

I have a feeling you may not so great at the balancing act, either.

I propose we all give up on this work/life balance business.
That way, we can give up the stress of trying to stay perfectly aligned all of the time.

Here’s the truth.
It’s not about balance.
It’s about work/life synergy.

n. noun 1. the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
Synergy is weaving together our work, income, families, passion, and values into this thing we call life.

Life is kind of like a tapestry. It can be a little messy on the underside, but as it all comes together, it’s quite beautiful.

Walking on the tightrope or work/life balance is all about the either/or.
“Either I spend time at work, or I spend time with my family.”
“Either I get my stuff done, or I rest and rejuvenate.”

Synergy is about the AND.
“I spend time at work and I spend time with my family.”
“I get my stuff done, and I rest and rejuvenate.”

Using synergy as your inspiration is less rigid, more fluid and allows for a lot more creativity. Trial and error becomes your sorting tool. It’s about integrating and blending the parts of your life.

Some beginning steps to increase your work/life synergy:

1. Prioritize what’s really important to you. Start and end your day with that. Every day.

2. Spend more time being present, focused, connected and kind.

3. Spend less time being worried, trying to guess what might make someone else okay, wishing things were different, and gossiping or criticizing.

So, I’m not great at work/life balance.

But, I ROCK at work/life synergy.

My clients are living proof that you can be a surgeon, CEO, lawyer, entrepreneur, or whatever and you can rock out the synergy being great at your job, being connected to your family, making time for your passions and interests and of learning to love your life and all its imperfections.

You just have to step off the high wire (and out of the circus ring) and start weaving the tapestry of important things in your life into something beautiful.

Need help figuring out this synergy thing? I’m here to help.

About the author

Jill Farmer

I love helping people get more meaningful work done in less time. I am the author of "There's Not Enough Time... and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves" which debuted as a bestseller in the Time Management Category on Amazon. In 2015, The Washington Post named me to its 21-Day Time Hacker team. I travel the world delivering keynotes and seminars for top corporations and organizations. I am also a wife and the mother of two teens and I have the two worst-behaved dogs in the universe. You can reach me at or visit my website

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