Time Is The Key To Work/Life Balance

By: Katie Garibaldi The concept of balancing life and work directly leads to the question of time.  We can tend to think there’s no time to fit everything in, or there’s not enough time to have a fulfilling and successful full-time career with a simultaneous full-time relationship.  Basically, there aren’t enough hours in a day!  Sound familiar?  We’ve all felt this way, like we need more time to do it all.  How do we make more time?  Well, that’s impossible, apart from how much we can stretch ourselves to get up earlier and go to bed later.  But since we can’t generally make time, through being married and being an independent business owner, I’ve discovered that there are other things we can do to create balance between a heavy work schedule and personal relationships.

The first and probably most obvious step on your path to a more balanced life is to manage time.  It may seem meticulous to plan out every day with lists, but those to-do checkboxes can be a saving grace when you’ve got a loaded agenda.  Find a way to organize that works best for you.  I like to organize my lists by tasks, prioritizing them by importance, and also setting time goals, such as, “complete tasks 1-5 by lunch time, then break and reassess the next set of goals.”  I also like to use a color-coded system for business and personal events on one master calendar so I don’t overbook.  As an independent singer/songwriter, I’m out of town a lot on tour and have a hectic itinerary with live shows, studio work, and operating the business side of my job.  My husband’s career also calls for a sporadic schedule with meetings and events.  So both of our schedules are rarely the same day-to-day.  We keep each other in the loop of our work schedules, compare calendars, and even plan ahead to block out personal time. It used to sound odd to me when I was younger, when married couples scheduled date nights, but now I know it’s a great way to manage time as a couple, and it requires you to take personal time during an otherwise hectic week. When you see “date night” on the calendar at 8 o’clock on Friday night, you are committed to shut down your computer for the day to make that date.  Voilá, balance!

Another way to create harmony in your life is to respecttime.  Frequently, balance can call for multi-tasking, but when your spouse or friend needs you, have the respect to turn off your work brain and be there in the present moment for them.  Give them your full attention so you’re not harming any personal relationships.  This is true on the flip side too.  Respect comes into play when you say, “I need to finish my work tonight so I can’t go out, but how about tomorrow night?”  Or, “Give me five minutes to finish this email and then I’m all ears.”  There may be a personal event like a birthday party and you know you can’t stay the whole time because you have a work commitment.  If possible, don’t back out of the event and instead let them know ahead of time you can only stay for an hour.  They will appreciate the fact that you took the time to show up for them.  Respect your personal relationships and work commitments fairly, and there will always be room for both.  In addition, remember to respect yourself and give yourself downtime to relax and refuel in order to enjoy your life and be rested and efficient to take on the next day.

My third and final piece of advice for you on balancing work and life is to forget time.  So often, we try to beat the clock that it may create feelings of disappointment or failure if you don’t achieve a certain goal for the day.  When you see items on your list that haven’t been checked off, it’s easy to have the attitude of “I didn’t get anything done!”  But it’s important to take stock of what you didaccomplish, and use that fulfillment to motivate you in your next set of goals.  It’s okay if one goal took longer than initially anticipated.  It’s okayif an unexpected break is needed.  If, for example, I have a lunch date with my husband and it turns into a spontaneous day out longer than planned, I couldwaste my energy with feelings of guilt and resentment that I didn’t get all my work done, but some of the best memories are made (and relationships built) when you can take your eyes off the clock and just live as if time doesn’t exist.  Sometimes it’s necessary to ignore those ticking hands and go with your instincts.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about balance, it’s to cut yourself some slack.  Do your best and if you didn’t get it done today, be proud of yourself for what you did pull off and start tomorrow as a new day.  When you follow your happiness, you’ll start saying, “Wow, look at the time!” as it does its usual trick of flying by, and not feel intimidated by it, but instead feel empowered and accomplished.

A coexisting work and love life is possible and can easily be navigated with managing and respecting your and others’ time, and sometimes even forgetting about time altogether.  The truth is, even if there were more hours in the day, there still wouldn’t be enough hours in the day.  So the key to balance is making the best use of the time that we do have.  And when we feel a sense of feng shui at work, we will carry those good vibes into our personal relationships, and vice versa.  The two worlds may seem emotionally separate, but they can support each other for the good of your peace of mind.  Happy balancing!


Based in the golden city San Francisco, Kate Garibaldi is a determined and enthusiastic singer/songwriter/guitarist and an avid national touring performer who has acquired a devoted fan base, due in large part to her engaging live shows, and personal connection to her listeners through her music. She sings with an emotional nearness that, in combination with her melodic and catchy songs and her soulful and expressive vocals, captures her audience wherever she performs. Her new album, Follow Your Heart, was recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone Recording Studios in San Francisco, CA, and engineered by Ian Pellicci.