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THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

There is no "balance"



I listen to a lot of conversation about "work/life balance".


It always confuses me - I thought the opposite of life was death?


Back to my point yesterday about what you would do with a lottery win.


To quote Isadore Sharpe, founder of The Four Seasons Hotel Group, "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."


Not every day is a joy, that's for sure.


Last night I spent three hours on a 90-minute journey, most of which was perched on top of the Pennines in the dark and thick fog, trying (and failing) to get back home from York in time for my weekly client webinar.


But that was after a flying visit to a superb orthodontic clinic, who are expanding to double their current capacity and are joining The Extreme Business 100 community from 1st January so that we can assist with their marketing and patient experience.


I don't think that there is any such thing as "balance" when you run your own business - but there is zoning.


We talk a lot about zoning appointment diaries, not enough about zoning our lives.


My approach I have shared many times - it's the Free, Focus and Buffer day method promoted by Strategic Coach in Toronto - free "off work", focus "in work" and buffer "on work".


My 2024 calendar was sorted into those categories BEFORE THE END OF MARCH this year - because that's how far in advance we have to zone. I'm already working on 2025.


  • 12 weeks vacation;

  • 5-day working weeks;

  • 2-day weekends;

  • 1-day a week "buffer" - working on my business;

  • 4-days a week "focus" - working in my business;

  • 100% compliance to the 12-weeks vacation;

  • 80% compliance to the weekends, focus and buffer days (because buggeration factors happen).


A free day is dawn to dusk.


A focus day is dawn to dusk.


A buffer day is dawn to dusk.


All three might involve some downtime - a run, a dog-walk, a bike ride or some TV.


That's my zoning - it's not balanced - it never can be - because we never know when the next traffic jam (or opportunity) will appear.







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