This week is Thanksgiving here in the U.S.
The normal way to think about Thanksgiving is that it's a family holiday. People don't go on vacation; they mostly focus on getting together with their families.
But, Thanksgiving is also a time to think about work. You've been working really hard for 11 months. If you have kids, they've been in school since the summer without a break. Everyone is feeling tired.
Thanksgiving is often the first time in the year when we get a long holiday. We leave for Thanksgiving and come back for only 3 weeks before and the Christmas and the New Year.
So, it's a good time to think about family, but also about work and how we balance the two.
We try really hard at OSTraining to help our staff keep a healthy work-life balance. We avoid weekend wherever possible and always aim to stick to a 40 hour week with time off for our team whenever they need it.
But, keeping a healthy balance requires constant attention. It's so, so easy to work too hard.
This Thanksgiving week, I asked our team to recommend 3 books with advice on keeping a healthy work-life balance.
How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen
Clay Christensen is famous for writing the The Innovator's Dilemma which shows how small companies can defeat large companies.
The key idea behind How Will You Measure Your Life? is that you can think of your life like a business.
Where you invest your time and effort decides what you get out of life. If you invest in your family, it'll reward you for years to come. If you invest everything in your work, your family life will go bankrupt.
I've been dipping into this book for years now and can always find small nuggets of wisdom.
20,000 Days and Counting by Robert Smith
Every once in a while, everyone needs to stop and think about their life – where you’re going, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
The problem of course, is that most of us don’t. Many people don’t intentionalize their lives – they just live day to day – floating from small choice to small choice – not really taking into consideration how they add up to become the direction our lives are taking.
In his book, “20,000 Days and Counting” (Amazon), Robert D. Smith asks “Are you spending life merely reacting to events as they happen, or are you moving forward each day with a clear objective? When you form a clear plan for your life, every day becomes part of something bigger: the process. Its up to you, however, to determine who you are in the process of becoming.”
I can't recommend this book enough!
Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
Enchantment, as defined by bestselling business guru Guy Kawasaki, is not about manipulating people. It transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility and civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers and the undecided into the loyal.
For those of us who deal with people (as in all of us), this book is a good reminder that our relationships can go beyond the perfucntory and become vehicles for fulfillment and growth. It doesn't take much to be "enchanting", but it is something you have to intentionalize.
One section of the book that really impacted me was on "How to Achieve Trustworthiness". Kawasaki doesn't tell his readers to be fake. Indeed, he takes us on a journey of becoming trustworthy by doing the right things and being the right person.
"Do something great" is a theme repeated throughout the book. Its not as hard as you think and the rewards are ... enchanting!
Over to you ...
Have you read any books that have been really helpful to you in keeping a work-life balance?
Has any book really inspired you to juggle your responsibilities more effectively?
Please drop your recommendation in the comments below ...