The art of Work Life balance is to stop balancing is the mantra of  Karen Meager and John McLachlan, the authors of the highly acclaimed book Real Leaders for the Real World, ‘Time Mastery’ (Both Panoma Press) and founders of Monkey Puzzle Training and Consultancy, a leading UK training company in NLP.  They took the time to explain the concept to us.

Searching for balance causes stress

“Achieving balance is like walking a tightrope, you are always swaying a little this way, then that. Anyone who has tried, cooking dinner, playing with their kids and working on tomorrow’s meeting agenda will know how this feels. Constantly searching for balance actually causes stress, anxiety and constant internal conflicts for people, which is hardly consistent with a happy and content life.

Instead of trying to ‘balance off’ different activities in your life, think instead about creating a daily or weekly rhythm that works for you. This means taking a step back and considering how you ‘do’ your life.

Achieving rhythm in your life is something that’s unique to you, small changes to your routines and planning can make a huge difference.


Know your energy thresholds

Key to finding your rhythm is to understand what gives you energy and what drains your energy. We are all different so monitor your energy levels for a week and pay attention. Some people find the buzz of a party gives them energy, for some it’s a real drain. Some people get energy from an activity like going for a run, for some they get energy from being still. Once you know yours you can plan your week so that you do more of what gives you energy and less of what drains you. Even a small tweak towards what gives you energy will bring you more rhythm.

Review the list below and begin to get a sense of you own thresholds. Is your energy enhanced or drained when you:

  • have lots to do or nothing to do?
  • are with or without unfamiliar people?
  • are with or without trusted close people?
  • have structure or a lack of structure?
  • have clarity of a lack of clarity?
  • are sitting still or moving around?
  • have peace and quiet or noise and bustle around?


As you look at the list notice what is it about them that impacts your energy?


Hack yourself a healthy routine

Plan healthy routines that help you to maintain rhythm and give you energy. This is hard for those who like variety but the advantage of a routine is that it gives you a thinking short cut, giving your mind space and energy to focus on more important things. For example creating a work wardrobe that coordinates will save you time planning outfits or packing for business trips. Having defined times of the day to do e mails and admin can be a huge time saver. Where having variety and choice gives you pleasure keep it, otherwise find a healthy routine that works.


Pace Yourself

When changing routines, take it step by step and avoid drastic changes. Your mind and the other people in your life need time to adjust. Instead of finishing work at 5pm every night instead of your usual 7pm, decide to leave at 6pm three nights a week, then gradually keep tweaking your leave time until it works for you. It’s always better to start with something you know you can achieve, and moving from there than taking a major step you can’t sustain.”

About Karen Meager and John McLachlan 

Karen has an MBA specialising in strategy, financial strategy and human development. She is a UKCP registered Psychotherapist (DipNLPt), one of less than a handful of internationally accredited NLP Master Trainers, coach and leadership development specialist. John is one of less than a handful of internationally accredited NLP Master Trainers, a qualified therapist, clinical hypnotherapist, coach and leadership development specialist.