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Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  543 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
The prescriptive follow-up to the "New York Times" bestseller "The Dream Manager."
One of the major issues in our lives today is work-life balance. Everyone wants it; no one has it. But Matthew Kelly believes that work- life balance was a mistake from the start. Because we don't really want balance. We want satisfaction.
Kelly lays out the system he uses with his clients,
ebook, 160 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Hudson Street Press (first published 2011)
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I wouldn't call this book a gold mine... it has some bits of copper, mixed in amongst doggie poo. And not the dry kind that can be set aside for a compost heap. The wet, smelly kind that sticks to the bottom of your shoe and has things growing in it.

The author begins with a story about a man who is satisfied with life, in a story designed to make ambition look bad. He then spends the rest of the book explaining why happiness is bad and dedication to your employer... not to humanity, not to your
Oct 11, 2015 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I really enjoyed this book, though the assessment questions aren't great in audio format. The author's perspective of the role of work and personal life, how we use them to address our values and develop ourselves, and the (mental) approach to having life satisfaction were described well. The challenge is always that once you identify what's important to you, that making those changes can be difficult. While he spoke about this, I thought there could have been more detail on both identifying val ...more
Lily Clark
Oct 30, 2016 Lily Clark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not tell you what I took away from this, because it didn't have a clear theme.

Basically this is a condescending book about a man whose wife almost left him but he saw some anonymous person speak on work life balance so now he knows everything there is to work life balance. Weirdly irrelevant personal anecdotes thrown in. Oh! And did you know he knows the meaning of life?!

It feels less a personal development book and more "hey I got my life together somehow and now I know everything in th
Mar 31, 2012 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-growth
Off Balance, by Matthew Kelly, goes beyond time management and work-life balance to discuss overall satisfaction with life and how to increase it. He begins by asking the reader what he/she likes and doesn’t like about his/her life. He then critiques the individualism, the hedonism, and the minimalism that characterizes American culture today. He offers the alternative of becoming the “best-version-of-yourself” that you can be as the most effective strategy to achieve satisfaction.

He defines sat
Clare Cannon
This was a surprisingly helpful book which was great to read through, but it could be even more useful as an aid to a group workshop, perhaps for young professionals starting out, or a professional development session for colleagues.

Its premise is to help us to learn how to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. Instead of focusing on a balance between everything, it focuses on helping you find satisfaction at the deepest level through identifying and accomplishing what is most imp
Bea Elwood
I am interested in learning more about "Flow" or "Work/Life Balance" or "Personal and Professional Satisfaction" - this book's promise to a happier life. This issue I had with this book was that it had a similar feeling to one of those "seminars". Y'know the ones, where the charismatic guy leads you through some inspiring exercises, the whole time promising to help you and teasing that we are getting so close, and then leaves you in the end with a to-do list of nicely vague check-marks to accomp ...more
Feb 02, 2016 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
I loved this book! Kelly outlines a common-sense alternative to the concept of "balance" between our personal and professional lives. Instead, he stresses that we should strive for satisfaction through strategically planning for the life we want. I especially liked the emphasis that the purpose of life is to "become the-best-version-of-yourself."

I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to improve their satisfaction with their life! While Kelly cites corporate America quite often,
Kevin Orpana
Dec 16, 2012 Kevin Orpana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have struggled with applying work-life balance to your life, I'd highly recommend this book. Has several helpful tips and exercises as well as a good central thesis of switching focus from managing time to managing your energy; seeking a satisfying life instead of a balanced one; and not feeling guilty of unsuccessfully being "balanced" between life and work due to an unrealistic expectation established by a faulty interpreted concept. Really worth it and I'll revisit it again for pointer ...more
Jon Campo
Jul 11, 2014 Jon Campo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What will drive even higher levels of human performance in the 21st century? The answer is: energy management.
Mohammad Jalili
Apr 08, 2014 Mohammad Jalili rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
you feel bigger and more powerful after reading this
May 04, 2017 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
People looking for more work-life balance may empathize with Lewis Carroll, “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Kelly’s premise is simple: You can’t separate the personal and professional aspects in your life. You can consider them separately to gain insight, but practical separation is impossible. The key is not balance, it is satisfaction. Off Balance often ventures into familiar territory – decide what’s important, have a plan and execute it through discipline and personal accountability. ...more
Oct 21, 2013 Book rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction by Mathew Kelly

“Off Balance" is a very helpful and practical book on how to help the reader design and build a more satisfying life in both the personal and professional arenas. Best-selling author and consultant, Mathew Kelly, promises a more satisfying life through a personalized system that readers can apply to their lives. This useful 160-page book includes the following five chapters: 1. The Bes
The Joy of Booking
I have become a much bigger proponent of work-life balance in the last year than I could have imagined. So much so that I quit my dream job, took a forty percent pay cut, and moved across the country to have a better chance of adding some “life” to my own work-life balance. So I really wanted to love this book, but I think at best I can only say that I liked it all right. (Which, really, is not the worst comment someone can make about a book.)

And the kind of sad reason is that there’s really goo
Dec 14, 2015 Margot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Margot by: Sharon
The premise in this book about the work-life balance "myth" is that balance is an unachievable or romanticized goal. It is actually satisfaction that we should be striving for, in both our personal and professional lives. The book also emphasizes the need for people to approach their personal lives strategically, just as they (hopefully) approach their professional lives strategically. Kelly's assertions are then strongly supported by anecdotal evidence and exercises to help readers identify ste ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Off Balance is based on the premise that the often discussed subject of work-life balance is a misconception and that work and life are intertwined to a degree that makes them impossible to separate. Someone unhappy in their job is likely to be unhappy in their personal life and vice versa. Instead, author Matthew Kelly focuses on a principle he feels is more applicable to a well lived life: satisfaction, which includes the desire to be “the-best-version-of-myself” personally and professionally. ...more
Feb 08, 2017 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not what I thought it was when I started it. However, I gained so much more out of it than I expected. I learned about myself but also my team members. I recognize the differences, and already within a few days of finishing the book, I have noticed a difference in my attitudes at work.
Feb 02, 2015 Bala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one the best self-improvement books I have read in recent years.

Most of the self-improvement books are set in the context of how to improve our style/communication/interaction/self in a professional setting. This books nixes that idea.

The author lays the responsibility for satisfaction totally on the reader. He embarks on a journey explaining how work-life balance is a bad goal and instead we should focus on Personal and Professional Satisfaction (PPS) as our objective. The examples ar
Jul 29, 2016 Pris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Kelly shatters all myths of work/life balance. There IS no work/life balance, just personal satisfaction that includes satisfaction with your work & home (personal) life. Work & personal life can't be separated, because you only have one life, one body living part of the time working & the rest at home, where what happens in one affects the other. Kelly gives you strategies in how to achieve personal satisfaction that gives you a feeling of accomplishment and meaning to your ...more
Jan 25, 2014 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought the overall idea of making sure to integrate your work and personal life and having a "strategy" for managing your personal endeavors was a good one. However, at times, the book seemed rather "gimmicky." It was like an infomercial about following this simple steps to achieve happiness. The ideas he outlined in themselves are good, but it seemed that everything was packaged into easy steps, or strategies. But there were so many strategies, it was hard to keep them straight. I also think ...more
Aviv Sheetrit
Sep 23, 2015 Aviv Sheetrit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kelly's writing is very elementary; he repeats the same sentences over and over again in a paragraph in different wording. (For example: "The important point to make is that level one [low energy] is unavoidable to some extent. We're all going to have to experience it from time to time; it is the extent that we have some control over. How often we experience level one and how long we experience it are what we have influence over.") An easy read you can get through in one sitting, but really noth ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first starting listening to this book, it annoyed me because there was an awful lot of word repetition. Sometimes book to audio adaptation is choppy and annoying. But by the end of the book, I was in love with the message and advice. So much so that I restarted the book and listened to it all over again. There is some great advice in here about the work/life balance façade. Mostly that work/life balance is impossible, and that instead the focus should be on personal and professional satis ...more
Leslie Shreve
This book is great! It's about the myth of "work-life balance" - a phrase that emerged 20 years ago - and how the real solution (and key to happiness) is achieving personal and professional satisfaction no matter how many hours you work. This book is a quick, fun read and offers assessments readers can take to see where they are today. Then he shares a system, a strategy, and steps readers can apply to their own lives in order to reach high levels of satisfaction, both personally and professiona ...more
I picked this up as an Audible Daily Deal with the idea that it might be useful to my husband, but found very little practical advice to apply to his time management, except to tell him that it was okay to prioritize work over family when he needs to. I found the tone cheesy and the writing recursive. I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone outside of people who find business seminars revitalizing.
Sep 01, 2015 Sherral rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audio version of this book and really liked what the author had to say about NOT achieving work/life balance, but instead seeking satisfaction in all aspects of life. BUT I feel like I'll need to get a physical copy of the book so I can read it with more intention. Totally worth it though. Kelly has some good ideas that I want to try. I especially liked what he had to say about an individual's energy and how to increase your energy levels.
Mar 08, 2013 Sthomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Kelly has a way of stating something very simply that makes you think about life differently --- and you later realize that what he has said is actually quite insightful and profound. I would rate some of his other books a 5, but I would say this one was a 3.5-4 because it is not as good as some of his others. However, I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I particularly liked his concept of energy management as the next time management.
Jennifer Conti
Aug 05, 2012 Jennifer Conti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some time now I have been of the opinion that work-life balance is unattainable. I often hear people talk about how their company isn't helping them attain their desired balance yet the one thing they can point to is working fewer hours. Kelly clearly articulates the unattainable nature of work-life balance but offers an even better perspective with some practical solutions. I will be using the concepts actively with my work group.
Aug 28, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in two sittings it is straight to the point.

1.) Have your priorities and don't waiver on them in life.
2.) Satisfaction is the goal of life not happiness. Satisfaction last longer and happiness is a fleeting moment.
3.) Work influences life and life influences work. It is absurd to think we can keep them separate these days. We are no longer factory workers.
4.)A satisfied and healthy person is good employee.
Dec 31, 2011 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will require closer reading but from my first time through it appears that Mr. Kelley presents a solid system that will help us to realize that there should not be a fight between our work life and our personal life but they are both a part of what makes up our total being.

Some of his anecdotes are quite dated and if you haven't heard them before then you haven't been listening. But get beyond those and there are some nuggets to be found.
Julie Cordova
Jan 14, 2014 Julie Cordova rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I was so inspired by this book that I decided to read it after listening to it on audio. I will add to this review once I have obtained the book. I should have it before the end of the week. Kudos to Matthew Kelly for clarifying something so simple: the difference between a balanced life and a satisfactory life. This simple perspective is so inspiring and well...satisfying.
Staci Williams
Mar 29, 2014 Staci Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
This book had a good message - we shouldn't be trying to find balance, we should be looking for personal and professional satisfaction. You can't have it all, and the idea of "work-life balance" implies that you can. It's no wonder everyone is perpetually seeking "balance" and never finding it. I think I will put some of these principles into practice and seek satisfaction instead.
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Matthew Kelly was born in Sydney, Australia, where he began speaking and writing in 1993. Since that time he has travelled in more than fifty countries and spoken to over four million people. He has written twelve books which have appeared on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists and have been published in twenty-five languages. His titles include: The Rhythm of L ...more
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