I often read with amusement the ideas of the proponents of work-life balance (WLB).

My view is quite simple – if you want to build your career, chuck out WLB. Building a career isa 101% commitment! Anything else will leave you at the back of the queue!

This might sound a bit harsh, but unless the company you are working for has an open view on flexitime, just know the WLB is a myth. And by the way, just because you are on flexitime is not going to work if your boss is in at 7.00 a.m. and you arrive at 10.00 a.m.

If you are looking to develop and grow by emulating your boss (the most effective way) then working at her pace is essential. Equally important is keeping ahead of colleagues.

A relaxed attitude will leave you with a relaxed position in the food chain and that’s usually last in the pecking order.

There are some pointers that need to be highlighted:

  • Let’s not confuse WLB with regular exercise. Getting your body to build a sweat is an essential part of keeping functional. It is a great stress-reliever and rejuvenates your emotional energy.
  • Leaving your spouse to tend to the baby every night when you both have high-powered jobs just isn’t fair. Play your part even if it’s just out of basic common decency.
  • Get in a long weekend away with the family at least every 3 months is a winner. And a year-end break away with the wife and kids is essential – just make sure that it’s at the time when the business has wound down. As expensive as it is, spend the money – it gets all the juices flowing again. and revitalises your creativity.

Of course. all this needs to be done within reason and you need to pace yourself.

I think the most exhausting thing that I have ever seen is Steve Covey’s proposed weekly diary that he presents in Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. It was a great book and the ideas were definitely worth striving for. But a mere mortal like myself found the whole thing totally overwhelming. Having a diarised time for every activity including time with the kids just did it for me – much too hectic. I know that in the career build-up phase this is ridiculous and is doomed to fail!

If you are building your career, it takes total focus. Don’t ever kid yourself otherwise. When you finally ‘make it’ you can bring in the sexy stuff like WLB. And if your spouse disagrees, he is not on your side and is being unfairly unrealistic.

If you are going places you need to stick all your energy behind it, otherwise you reduce your chances of success. People in this space know it, people who do not talk of WLB.