Monday, July 21, 2008

Balancing Work and Family - Simplify Your Life Series (1 of 10)

One of my old friends is working as a marketing maven in the software industry. His family is down in San Diego; however, not many opportunities for software marketers exist in San Diego. He was struggling with whether to move back to San Diego and sacrifice his career or to move his family to the San Francisco Bay Area and face the higher cost of living associated with living in the Bay Area.

My advice:

Get your family back with you, and simplify your life, and balance your work and family time to maximize your success and happiness.

Why did I give this advice? First of all, I felt in my gut that my friend's tone of voice indicated he felt he could do better with his career in the Bay Area. But he was really struggling with the challenge and pain of being separated from his family. My feeling is that we often don't realize how *little* we can get by with until we simplify our life. Cable? I've lived years without it before. Television, that, too. Cell phones, you'd be surprised, but I once went a year without a cell phone (as a salesperson, no less) just to prove I COULD get by without it. There were five times I had to pull over at a pay phone to make a call, but otherwise, it was no big deal, really.

Sometimes, there is value in living simply. When we simplify, we enable space for more interactions - real interactions - with people we love to occur. Space is good for creating relationships, spending more quality time, and creating more. For example, if you want to create something, such as a painting, a song, or writing a book, how many times do you start with a blank page or canvass? Exactly: almost every time! So, if you want to build something new, or create more connection with people, simplify your living space, simplify your office, and simplify what you do with your time. When you can do these things, and your family can do these things, you will find it easier to balance your family with work life.

Now, if you're separate, try to reconnect and get everyone back together in one space. Often times, when companies find themselves feeling confused or lacking direction, they pull back in regional offices and simplify by consolidating into one location. When I drove to the corporate offices at Dell Computer Corporation, they had over 8 offices all called Round Rock 1, Round Rock 2 and other creative names like that. But the point was that Dell organized his company in a way where all the different divisions were within WALKING DISTANCE - or at least a very short drive - of each other. When you're corporate campus is fragmented, it is more difficult to communicate face-to-face. So, that's what I'm talking about: simplifying so you can talk face-to-face enables deeper, stronger, creative relationships.

Try it in your own family and work life and see if you're more productive and successful!

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