The stimulus of poisonous productiveness
Balance is a myth.
If that seems like a generalization, listen to me. I don’t think you shouldn’t try to achieve balance, but you should never expect perfect balance – at least not on your own. Many lawyers seem to think that they need to have everything in perfect harmony.
The truth is that people who work together create a balance. You will never be able to juggle everything around the clock; There will be times when you drop the ball. However, if you rephrase your thinking you will find that you never really have to drop the ball – sometimes you have to pass it on to someone else or pass it on entirely. That is what we should call “balance”.
There’s a general trend toward productivity with lawyers trying to find the next productivity app, hack, or guru. And yes, there are certainly ways to better organize your life. Of course, it’s a good idea to be curious and on the lookout for self improvement. However, you should also be aware that you are falling into the trap of toxic productivity.
What is Toxic Productivity?
I am glad you asked. Toxic productivity occurs when we try to schedule the maximum amount of output for every minute of our day. We fill every moment with successive meetings, projects or research, with little to no time for breaks. Toxic productivity requires that we always do our best. We just have to pack our days.
But the reality doesn’t match. Lawyers and other professionals often ask me how I manage to settle the rest of my life as the CEO of a technology company in Silicon Valley.
My answer is always the same: I don’t.
Once you have a “me” you will struggle to find balance because whatever you put on the “me” has little reason to stay there. “I” has a very slim base that acts as a pivot rather than a foundation.
On the contrary, the use of the word “we” offers a lot more space so that you can stack a lot more on it. In fact, the word “imbalance” might as well be spelled “I am balance”!
Don’t be afraid to realize that you can’t do it on your own. I have a wonderful mother and husband who help me stay “balanced” and healthy. They were the ones who homeschooled my daughters during COVID-19 so that I could do what I love.
The trick is to find a support group and find a structure that will distribute the load evenly and sustainably. Sustainability is the most important productivity factor – but it is most overlooked.
When you know you can’t wait forever for your current system, you urgently need a system overhaul. If you have to assert yourself every day, then you have no productive equilibrium – you are just tottering from the inevitable fall.
Olga V. Mack is CEO of Parley Pro, a next generation contract management company pioneering online negotiation technology. Olga is committed to legal innovation and devoted her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that through the use of technology, the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient and more inclusive than before. Olga is also an award-winning General Counsel, Operations Professional, Startup Consultant, Public Speaker, Associate Professor, and Entrepreneur. She founded the Women serve on boards of directors Movement that advocates the participation of women on the boards of Fortune 500 companies. she wrote Get on board: Get your ticket for a seat on the company’s board of directors and Fundamentals of intelligent contract security. You can follow Olga on Twitter @olgavmack.