I’d like to preface this by saying, I am by no means an expert in work-life balance. Though I strive to honor the people and things that are most important to me as well as my own needs, I sometimes miss the mark. In those times, I do my best to take a step back, check-in with myself and my environment to make sure I’m on the right track, read just as needed.
For me, work-life balance begins with one word: intentionality. Being intentional about how you spend your time and energy is an essential element of successful work-life balance. If you don’t know what’s important or what matters most to you, it’s impossible to create a balanced life.
Still, through a career in the NBA, school, and caring for my wonderful family, I’ve learned a lot about how to stay on track. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
Work-Life Balance is Rarely 50/50
Work-life balance is rarely an even split between work and life. We all have different goals, priorities, and responsibilities that require us to shift the balance one way or another. That said, I think it’s important to remember that there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to balancing your job and lifestyle. The most important thing is to stay intentional and be aware of the impact your choices are having on your life.
Boundaries differ for everyone. Personally, I’ve never been the type to turn my phone off completely or to completely unplug from work. But I do make sure to set boundaries for myself and my family that allow me to prioritize the people and things that matter most.
We all have different needs and setting parameters around when, where, and how you can be reached can help provide clarity and direction. For you that may look like setting office hours, blocking off time in your calendar for yourself or family commitments, or setting limits on how many emails you respond to. The key is to create systems and boundaries that help you remain present and available for the things that matter most.
Prioritize and Make Time for What Matters Most
Work-life balance isn’t just about creating boundaries. It’s also important to be intentional about what you prioritize with the precious time we all have. I’ve found that if I want to be successful in my career, maintain my relationships with friends and family, pursue my interests and passions, and stay healthy, it’s important to prioritize the things that really matter.
I want my family to know they can depend on me to show up for them, whether that’s spending time with my wife, attending an event for my daughter, or making time to talk though an issue when my son needs to talk.
Define What Success Looks Like For You
As we get older, we realize success doesn’t always look like relentless productivity, accolades, and awards. You must define what success looks like for you and then figure out how to achieve it while maintaining balance.
For me, I want to be able to look back on my career and life with a sense of satisfaction, knowing I’ve made the most of my time and have been present for the people who matter most. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be who I am today.
Maintaining this balance isn’t something you can achieve alone. You need people to hold you accountable and keep you on track. There will be times when you look up and realize things have shifted. It’s inevitable. But, when I find myself in that situation, having a network of friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors who I can talk to about how I’m feeling and get honest, unbiased feedback is incredibly powerful.
At the end of the day, work-life balance is about making sure you’re taking care of yourself so that you can show up for others in your life – both professionally and personally. It’s something that requires ongoing effort and intentionality, but if you commit to it, you can and will have it all.