Think life, not work

I’m going to start this week’s post by telling you to stop thinking about your career as a Designer. 

For just a brief moment, stop and think about yourself in the broader scheme of things because it is important—very important—to understand that ‘work’ is only one facet of who you are today and who you will become tomorrow.

Stop for a moment and look and at your life with a birds eye view and ask yourself which aspects are most important to you, which are interwoven and which are dependent on one another.

It is so important to establish a clear perspective of the important areas of your life and ensure that you are giving 100% to each one of them.

Without a rich, fulfilling life outside of ‘work’, you’re not going to be able to contribute much to your career that will see it grow and flourish into something amazing.

At Tank we put a big focus on work/life balance. There is a deeply ingrained ethos in our business that ensures that we:

  • We don’t work long hours so we can have time to spend with family or look after our health with exercise
  • We plan all of our projects to be completed between the hours of 9-5:30pm. Normal business hours.
  • We contribute to our staffs wellbeing by giving subsidising a purchase that contributes to their health each year.
  • We have an ongoing pulse survey which asks everyone in the business to rate their happiness on a random, four-day-per-week cycle. Achieving a minimum of 80% Happy Score is one of our annual business goals.
  • We give our staff an extra week annual leave each year, five weeks in total, so they have ample time to re-energise, spend time with loved ones and come back to work happier and healthier.

Here’s an exercise I learned years ago. I can’t recall who showed it to me, but its simplicity clarified for me that work wasn’t everything.

It showed me that so many other things in my life had to be in check for my career to have any semblance of being called ‘successful’.

The diagram below shows you circle cut into a pie chart (click the caption to download a source file). Each segment of the pie chart represents an aspect of your life. For the sake of this exercise, I've segmented it into six areas: work, home, wealth, friends, family and health. You might segment yours into more, or less segments—that is completely up to you.

Only use areas of your life that are important to you. Label each segment to represent each of these areas. You might want to think about what you're most grateful for and list those things.

Now, imagine that that centre of the circle represents a score of zero (0) and the outer perimeter of each segment a score of ten (10)—you guessed it, half way is equal to a score of five (five). 

Fill in each segment up to the score you would give yourself for each of areas based on the following question: How much focus and energy are you giving this area of your life?

Are you a 9/10 in health and fitness? Are you a 5/10 in your career? Are you a 7/10 in Family/Friends?

Once you’re done, look at the circle and ask yourself this question: If this pie chart were a wheel, and I rolled it down a hill. Would it be bumpy? 

Your goal is to have a smooth, seamless circle. That doesn't mean that all areas need to be a ten, but it does mean that an equal amount of focus and energy needs to be dedicated to them all, so they are all working well.

Simple.

From the mentor's POV

Building a career is complex