Title of Book: Win Art Work & Succeed At Life: 5 Principles To Free Yourself From The Cult Of Work
Author of Book: Michael Hyatt & Megan Hyatt Miller
What is unique: I (or you) should not be surprised that there are five principles the authors discuss to help give you a work-life balance…after all, the subtitle tells you that! The five principles are:
- Work is only one of many ways to orient
- Constraints foster productivity, creativity
- Work-life balance is truly possible
- There’s incredible power in non-achievement
- Rest is the foundation of meaningful, productive work
So there are the basics. Let’s dig a little deeper into each one of the principles.
#1: I thought this was interesting. The authors are clear about the reasons people overwork. There are seven reasons.
- Work is fun
- Personal growth and identity
- The experience of flow
- Definable wins
- Status and value signaling
- Sky-high expectations
- The treadmill effect.
#2: The authors delineate ten different life domains beyond work.
Let’s be honest, fellow learner-centered leader, if you are spending too much time in the work domain, you need to concentrate more on the other domains. The authors discuss the reasons why it is important to move beyond the work domain and helpful suggestions on how to do it. One area that I liked a lot was the idea that if you are not clear about what matters most, you can fall into the trap of allowing the work domain to overtake your life. The authors suggest three non-negotiables to help you gain clarity.
- Relational priorities
- Professional results
A good exercise for you is to ask yourself what are your non-negotiables in each area?
#3: When thinking of work-life balance, it is important to remember three things.
- Balance is not the same as rest. Balance is just what it says, balancing your demands in every domain of your life.
- Balance is dynamic. You are always adjusting your path, but you should always know where you are going.
- Balance is intentional. You must be cognizant that work-life balance is a “thing” in your life and be purposeful about doing the things necessary to fulfill work-life balance.
#4: Non-achievement does not mean you're trying not to achieve. Instead, it is about allowing your brain some time off from doing tasks associated with work. Your brain is always “on,” but it can be “on” in different ways. This all boils down to one thing. Give yourself time to think. I know that when you are a school leader, it can seem as if your day can get out of hand, and you find yourself just reacting. Taking a pause to shut your door and think…or take a walk and think…or go for a drive and think… you get the picture. Allow yourself the honor of letting your brain wander. It will pay off for you.
#5: Our culture (especially in the United States) actually glorifies lack of sleep. Whether it is students “pulling an all nightery” in college, or an entrepreneur sleeping at their office, we tend to glorify lack of sleep. Research is pretty clear that this is not smart. Our brains 9and the rest of our body) needs rest. So, do not fall into the trap of thinking that staying late in the office is actually making you more productive. In most cases, it is not.
What is helpful: Here is what is helpful for the busy learner-centered leader. It is all right to think of other domains of your life. It is okay to give as much attention to the other domains as it is for the work domain. As a matter of fact, if you are out of balance and concentrating too much on the work domain, your productivity will suffer.
If you are a young learner-centered leader being promoted to a job with more responsibility, I suggest you make a few things clear with your boss. Set clear expectations about how many nights you will attend school events. I know when I had a young family, I told the school board that if I had to choose between a school event and taking my daughter to swim practice, my daughter wins every time, so don’t expect me to be at every school event. If they do not wans to hire you because of that ground rule, then you are better off because their expectations of attending all school events would cause you to become out of balance. Life is too short to be out of balance.
What is interesting: Here is my broad take-away from the book. We have to recognize that our culture glorifies being busy. We have a tendency to equate being busy with being productive. This is a false correlation. Staying in balance in all domains of our life is what keeps us the most productive. The authors discuss the “double win” which is your work and personal life working in tandem. I think the double win can only occur when you are very clear about your leadership, career, and school goals. Having direction and purpose makes it easier for you to create the work-life balance the authors discuss in the book.