Happy work Humans team

Work-Life Balance et al

Tracey Foulkes
Written by Tracey Foulkes

3 Things have crossed my proverbial desk multiple times this week. I thought I should touch on them all.

  1. Work-Life balance
  2. Blueprints
  3. Purpose


“there is no such thing as work-life balance. everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” alain de botton

Madam Burge slid this quote my way on Thursday. It was shortly after I told her I’d reworked my blueprint (see below) and the day before I stumbled on revisiting my purpose. It reminded me of the blog post I wrote in May but it goes a little deeper than that me thinks. Perhaps this is a good topic to debate at one of our teams thinking┬ásessions or your thoughts in the comments might just do the trick, but as it stands this quote has me perplexed.

You see I actually DO BELIEVE there is such a thing as work-life balance. My body is the gauge of this which is why I know it’s true (for me, in any case). So I’m wondering if it’s the second part of the quote that has me puzzled “…everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” Erm, let me think out loud. Fighting for that last duck-fat-roasted-potato (OMG, they are the best thing eva!), clawing our way towards a work revolution or advocating for what you believe to be right, will cause unbalance (albeit momentarily in the case of the potato).



You might not know but I come from an interior design background. It was yonks ago, in the time where we actually printed out our plans (mine were originally of houses, then complex office layouts). They were tinged in blue, hence the name I believe. The term now widely used, in our business refers to:

a) Our COMPANY blueprint – the 3 pillars: human – technology – space
b) Our individual WEEKLY blueprints – the calendar overlay that helps us schedule more effectively (think: school timetable)

Today I refer to the latter. My weekly blueprint AKA my life saver, my stability, my foundation or the single most powerful thing that helps me machine through my work with purpose, on purpose. You see I had a leeetle mid-week wobble and realised that my world had got out of balance. Too much work time and a blatant disregard for my then current blueprint meant I needed to press pause, recalibrate, and move on.

If you are feeling the same dis-ease, can I suggest taking 30 minutes out of your day (as in right now) to hop over to your calendar and block off the times in your week for what you feel you should be doing when. Essentially I find the best way for me to work my blueprint is to create blocks off time within my normal calendar, I’ve made my blocks blue in contrast to my green coloured appointments, scheduled as repeat, removed notifications (or I’d go insane) and prefixed the title with “BP”.

BAM, I immediately felt more in control, focused even. It was instantaneous and liberating.

P.S.: some of my team┬álike revisiting their┬áblueprint weekly, I keep mine more static and only revisit it when it’s not working well for me. In my past life as a productivity specialist I can honestly say that the blueprint was my single biggest and bestest efficiency tool.


I was in an interview this past week and was dumbfounded when the candidate answered by “what will really make you happy?” question with an “honestly, I don’t know”. If this sounds like you, then I suggest you quickly figure out what your purpose is. While it most certainly can (and likely should) change, YOU are responsible for YOU … so get a little real with yourself and answer:

How to create your life purpose in 5 minutes:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you love to do? (What is the 1 thing you feel supremely qualified to teach others)
  3. Who do you do it for?
  4. What do these people want or need? (That they come to you to get)
  5. How do they change/transform as a result of what you give them

I empower people to do great work. What do you do?

1 Comment

  • The last question you asked made me realise that I’ve gotten so busy in my day job that I’ve taken so steps towards what I love, thanks for writing article and reminding me to do what I love.

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