Organizing to balance life and work

There is an old saying, that I first learned from a carpenter, that goes like this:

Pick two of the following three options 1) good, 2) quick 3) cheap

  • You can have good and quick but it probably won’t be cheap
  • You can have good and cheap but it probably won’t be quick
  • You can have cheap and quick but it might not be that good… and so on.

I often think about these three choices when people are looking for a ‘quick’ fix for something that has taken years to develop – like a work style that doesn’t supports you or your team or a habit that has formed that negatively affects your personal life (think the 80 hour work week).

We are living in a society that promotes instant gratification, immediate customer satisfaction (imaging buying a book online and instantly having access to it) and all around quick service (imagine a drive through restaurant) but there are certain things that we cannot access immediately:

  • Changing the way you work each day so that you are happier or feel more productive is not something that will happen ‘qucikly’
  • Piles of papers will not create their own filing systems
  • An overflowing in box that creates discomfort and overwhelm will not empty itself

And even though you know what you need to do you may continue to do what we have always done even if the results aren’t what you want.  So, consider asking yourself what you really want out of your day-to-day life and then decide how you’ll go about getting it: good, quick or cheap.


Here’s an article you might find interesting about balancing work and life