Man on a ledge: achieving life-work balance

4 Mar

It’s been a challenging few months since the last post; I don’t want this to be a confessional blog, but suffice to say that my wife Katie has been fairly ill, having been diagnosed in mid-December. And, frankly, it’s the thing that’s on my mind constantly, so what else to write about….

As ever, such things throw everything else into a sharp, instant perspective, which has a direct impact on how you approach work and all its different parts.

For me, there’s been a few things I’ve noticed:

prioritisation is everything (see previous post on the myth of multitasking); there’s a reason why this is the first blog post in three months or so, and the non-urgent and the peripheral drops away rapidly….apologies to those at the periphery, but that’s just how it’s been of late

impatience as a driver: I’m hugely driven at the moment to cut through flim-flam, inefficient (or unneeded) meetings, stuff that doesn’t deliver change / impact, circular discussions and so forth; and (as the image says), seize opportunities wherever possible; this impatience is something that has to be managed, otherwise it can easily move towards rudeness rather than (more positively) towards greater productivity

support networks: it’s one of those terms/phrases that you don’t really know what it means until you call upon it; thanks to all those who’ve been kind, supportive + listened (and those who continued to take the piss/make me laugh); especially colleagues + workplace who’ve demonstrated for real that the organisational values actually mean something outside of the business plan

flexible working has limits: hospital wifi is poor, and multitasking doesn’t work with this kind of stuff: attention required at all times; so thank heaven for e-mail on smart phones (without which I would be playing an even larger game of catch-up), but I’m also recognising the benefits of an office with flows of information, companionship and co-working [a good reminder of why I left freelancing behind]

there’s always someone worse off (and willing to talk): it’s not a particularly positive thing to hang your hat on, but it is true; people in every network, every sector, every group of friends…are dealing with big, hairy problems all the time; and honesty about your situation begets honesty about theirs

crosswords are therapeutic: I’d kind of got out of the habit of doing the crossword on the commute home, but am finding it a thoroughly useful thing: not only occupying the mind, but also doing something that has definite answers and a clear order; a clarity and certainty not available elsewhere

drink plenty of water and get enough sleep: I may well write a self-help / productivity book in future which simply has this as the title, with a load of blank pages inside; certainly guaranteed to achieve more than any amount of positive visualisation and aligned chakras

On that note, back for some water, crosswords, sleep and prioritising the important stuff over this blog :0)


3 Responses to “Man on a ledge: achieving life-work balance”

  1. James Cracknell March 5, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Hi Nick

    First thing, I sincerely hope your wife is on the road to recovery. I have no doubt that at times like this the support of those around you is of great comfort, it is always best to meet uncertainty with the help of shared knowledge and collective understanding.
    The people, like me, who take on board your sage advice, think of you as an extremely helpful thoughtful man who allows them to see their lives more clearly. They will no doubt echo my best wishes for the both of you as well as agree that we are at the ‘periphery’ and should place no demands upon you until your life has more clarity itself or until you decide to initiate the communication.

    Take care.

  2. Sinead Mac Manus (@sineadmacmanus) March 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Hi Nick

    So sorry to hear about this and like James I hope you wife is getting better. Thanks for sharing this post and reminding us that when life throws us curve balls it brings everything into sharp and essential focus. If only we could do it without the balls (so to speak).

    Take care

  3. Craig Dearden-Phillips March 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Hi Nick,

    Craig here. I stumbled across your first blog in ages this afternoon. Extreme situations remind us of important truths and I am sure you are handling your enhanced intolerance of flim-flam and circularity with your usual skill. But the truth cuts through – don’t waste time. As I approach half-time in my own life, I feel this too. And was I or my loved-ones to get unlucky I am sure that feeling would redouble. Glad you’re OK and I hope Katie’s treatment is going well.

    Take care


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