4 Ways to Be the Philippe Petit of Work-Life Balance

Image: brainpickings.org

Today is the 40th anniversary of Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

The 45-minute walk, the subject of the award-winning documentary Man on Wire, brought new heights to what was essentially a balancing act (just 1400 feet or so above the ground).

Not that we recommend that to our readers, adrenaline junkies included.

But the anniversary reminds us of achieving another type of balance that communicators and PR pros are all too familiar with: the work-life balance.

In an increasingly pressurized environment—when clients bark at you via email about their social media campaigns and the CEO needs that talking-points memo ten minutes ago—it’s getting harder and harder for PR pros to maintain a sense of equilibrium, not to mention their sanity.

Depending on what’s at stake, the work-life balance could be a myth. At the same time, we have to least take a shot at it. With that in mind, here are a few tips designed to help you absorb all the information you’re hammered with day-to-day and not make you go meshuga.

  • Are you kind to your colleagues and clients? Work challenges can be mitigated if you are inherently simpatico with your collaborators.
  • Have you taken up a hobby, or hit the gym? A great way to break up the workweek is to have a class (or some diversion) to go to so you don’t suffer from tunnel vision. Having an enthusiasm or two should help to keep the day-to-day gig fresh.
  • Do you read fiction? Your job requires that you read more words in a week than most people will read in a lifetime. You need to unplug your brain. The more outlandish, the better.
  • Take your job seriously; don’t take yourself seriously. It’s an old standby, but one that, if mastered, will endear you to your colleagues and, perhaps more important, prevent you from living your own Groundhog Day.

Most important of all, be kind to yourself. No matter the circumstances, it's your head that will hit the pillow every night. And you'll be the first person you wake up to, so act accordingly.

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mspjourno1