It's 1963 and you're a songwriter working on a major film at Pinewood studios. In a crucial scene, a new English nanny is introduced to her charges and starts to tidy up the nursery. The director has asked you to come up with a song to liven up this part of the film. What are you going to do?
This was the situation facing the Sherman brothers and in solving it, they came up with the most profound piece of career advice that I have ever seen. Here it is..
In every job that's to be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job's a game
And every task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree!
It's very clear to me
That a… spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
(Music & Lyrics: Sherman & Sherman)
Find the fun. That is the real secret of solving work life balance and changing your life.
Find out where you are at your most joyful, playful and in the flow. And once you've found it, aim to increase the percentage of time you spend doing it. Example: If project work is your thing, how can you do more projects? If you love to give presentations, then how can you do more? And so on. What kind of customers do you most enjoy dealing with? Which colleagues do you enjoy being with the most - how could you find more like them? And so on.
This clashes head on with a major limiting belief held by many people that work must be boring, that work is somehow different from life, as if you could switch off your life while at work.
The only people with a work-life balance problem are those who persist in doing things they don't enjoy. This seems ridiculous doesn't it but how many people do you know who truly love what they do at work? How many will give you a blow by blow account of how awful work is but never take any action to change it? Wouldn't you love to be proud of what you do and look forward to it every day?
If you are facing a major change or thinking about new directions, you could do a lot worse than have a serious think about where you have the most fun and then go and find some more.
Here's some other ideas for making fun into "real" practical work:
Take care and have fun finding your spoonful of sugar!
You can also: