HomeEveryday Life40 in 40: Lesson #26

40 in 40: Lesson #26


Route 40

40 in 40: #26

Some weeks I work really long hours.

In fact the next 6 months are likely to take quite a few hours per week to accomplish what I want to. I won’t be working 80 hours every week but it’s going to be a lot.

I rarely let my inbox get above 30 email messages. Which means I manage email from bed, the bathroom, in front of the TV, and other places outside of work.

I wake up early to get to work. And I often stay late.

I try to exercise every day.

I’m trying to be a part of a small group at our church every other week.

I serve on a few non-profit boards and volunteer organizations.

Lesson #26

Work-life balance is a myth. I can no sooner keep it balanced than I can hold the tide back. My life is an integrated whole: family, work, spiritual life, exercise, reading, recreation, etc. are all part of one life. That life shares time, energy, talent and treasure.

There’s another part of this story:

  • I take 4-6 weeks of vacation a year (two weeks uninterrupted in the summer, a week at Christmas, 1/2 weeks at Thanksgiving and Easter).
  • I try to have dinner alone with Elise at least once a week.
  • I take Riley to breakfast every Friday.
  • I don’t miss many sporting events for the kids.
  • I try to be creative about how to spend the time with my family

David Greusel of Convergence Design speaks to this very clearly:

“I have also come to believe that the idea of achieving work-life balance, as it is referred to in the Human Resources departments of large companies, is a myth. I don’t cease to be an architect when I go home at night any more than I cease to be a husband and a father when I leave home for work. I have been trying very hard to de-compartmentalize my life the past few years. I want to be a whole person who is husband and father and architect and citizen twenty-four hours a day, attempting to order my various responsibilities so that I can discharge them well. But I think the notion that what results is a balance between work and family and community commitments is absurd.

“It is more like a well-rigged sailing ship, where keeping the lines in proper tension results in moving briskly across the ocean to your intended destination. My life is at least as complex as a three-masted schooner, and that requires making constant adjustments to keep the lines in the proper tension, neither too taut nor too slack”

And as I’ve said before…this is not about doing more or being busy.

Different people like different paces of life. I happen to enjoy when things are moving along at a clip. And occasionally I crash, or get sick (like today), or unplug on vacation.

That’s not a standard for anyone else and plenty of people think it’s too much. Part of the struggle for each of us is figuring out what YOUR rhythm is.

How are you keeping the lines on your ship in the right tension?

Keep moving forward,


Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

2 Responses to “40 in 40: Lesson #26”

By Janice McWilliams - 29 September 2011

I want to hear how Greg and Elise have dinner together alone every week! I like messing with the idea of “balance” too–cool thoughts that challenge the norm.

By greg - 29 September 2011

They get older and we ignore them. There’s a cost to everything.

We go wherever we have groupons or certificates.

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