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Maintaining Work-Life Balance: Juggling between Rubber Balls and Glass Balls

Every one of us has gone through a phase in our lives in which we have treated our work like a glass ball and everything else as a rubber ball.

Mainting work life balance
Image Credit: Pexel

Bryan Dyson, a former CEO of Coca-Cola, once made a speech at Georgia Tech commencement and quoted the famous American author Gary Keller. In his 30-second speech, he said:

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

This quote is from 2014 but these insights are timeless and still hold a lot of value. Bottom line? It’s okay to drop the ball at work as you can always grab it at any time. So just relax and don’t take it to heart. The rubber ball will come bouncing right back at you. It might roll around a bit but you’ll be able to pick it back up and resume the juggling.  

Balance regarding work-life is always relative as there are some people who don’t give any importance to their family, health or even soul. They take their work very seriously and consider even it as their sole duty in life. 

Work-Life Flexibility Issues   

Flexibility is defined as the ability to improve work quality and utilize work hours to deal with life’s various situations. This includes all the glass balls.

For example, if you have taken the responsibility to take your child to a soccer game every Friday noon, you are liable to align your working hours accordingly. It’s your job to find a solution that satisfies both your child and employer. 

Likewise, employers need to manage their team of employees and find that balance where both his professional and personal life are in order. If they find it hard to juggle all these balls, they can utilize a staff time tracker to better manage their time. 

What if you drop a glass ball?

I’m sure that many of us have taken steps in our lives that we aren’t proud of. There are people who give priority to their health over everything or treat their family in the best possible way but end up losing focus at the workplace. 

There are all kinds of people in this world, making it hard to find a person who is great at juggling all five balls of life. It’s very easy to drop one of the aforementioned glass balls, and end up damaging them for life. Some of the things you can do to better handle those delicate glass balls:

  • Figure out which ball receives most of your attention and then create a balance.  
  • There should be no prioritizing between these five balls. They should be treated equally.
  • Thoroughly analyze the main cause of inattention and start working on it.

In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Brad Pitt’s character said: 

“It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There is no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. We should live a life that we are proud of. If we find that we are not, we should have the strength to start all over again.”

Rubber Ball is Still Very Important

Getting back to Gary Keller’s rubber ball quote, work might be a rubber ball and sooner or later it will bounce right at back, however, we should not be complacent about it. After all, work is the only way to earn a decent living. 

In today’s world, if we don’t work hard, we will find it difficult to take care of our glass balls aka family, friends, health or spirit. So you need to be careful with the rubber ball as well. It might not bounce back every time. We should strive to take care of work alongside other aspects of our life. 

Final words

Every one of us has gone through a phase in our lives in which we have treated our work like a glass ball and everything else as a rubber ball. Our family, friends, health, and spirit are the true glass balls and shouldn’t be treated like ordinary rubber balls. 

When the next time you’re being pulled in a million different directions and don’t know where most of your attention should be, do remember that work is just a rubber ball. Sure it’s important but it’s not the end all be all.

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