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

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  778 ratings  ·  91 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, his t
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 15th 2011 by Avery (first published 2011)
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3.78  · 
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 ·  778 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z-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
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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,
Bea Elwood
Dec 06, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Kevin Orpana
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mohammad Jalili
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
you feel bigger and more powerful after reading this
Lily Clark
Oct 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
Jon Campo
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
What will drive even higher levels of human performance in the 21st century? The answer is: energy management.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
1. Become the best version of yourself. Keep making choices in alignment with value structure. It is liberating to choose. If you try to make your value structure the same as your time allocation structure, that’s bad. Value structure influences how I spend my time. Why I do what I do each day.

2. Don’t mortgage your higher priorities for your lower priorities. Figure out what really matters to me and develop a value structure. Learning to live strategically is the first step towards w
Toby Brennen
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
After being a strong work-life balance advocate for much of the past 15 years, "Off Balance" has been on my 'must read' list for awhile. Oh, how I wish I hadn't waited so long! Within the first 30 pages, Matthew Kelly succinctly lays waste to the work-life balance myth explaining very clearly why he refers to it as the biggest management failure of the last 30 years.

I've read scores of business-think, self-help, professional development books over the years. I have been fortunate to have been in
Joya Cousin
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short read with a several excellent concepts, which may form the basis for further personal exploration.

The big ideas for me were:
1. Personal and professional satisfaction trumps the idea of finding work-life balance.
2. The purpose of life is to create the best version of ourselves and to pursue only those things and experiences which will produce that result.
3. Our levels of energy drive and are directly correlated to our levels of satisfaction.
4. Creating systems based on priorities/a value
May 04, 2017 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
Nguyen Luan
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone. Great book to inspire one to look at what really matters in life and the book will make you reflect on the way you are living your life. Some of my favorite quotes come from "Off Balance"

“Time is your most valuable resource. Guard your time. Plan your time. Protect your time. Defend your time. Don’t waste time. Time is life, and life is time. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life.” - Matthew Kelly

“Life is about saying yes to the things that h
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
This guy doesn't seem to know his audience (burnt out and jaded managers with crap employees maybe?) when he describes his 3 drivers of poor performance which aren't generally the symptoms of people exhausted from overwork and yearning for work/life balance. He would have been far better off in saying this is the next evolution of achieving "work/life balance". Making it less about quantity of hours and more about healthy focus on both areas supporting achievement in each.

The wisest part of the
Stefany Zelepuza
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The premise is good; what people need is not “work-life balance” so much as “satisfaction.” I don’t think it really gets enough into how to achieve that, though. That said, it did introduce some thought-provoking ideas, for example, “anything in your life that doesn’t make you a better version of yourself is making you a lesser version of yourself” (the stuff you own, job, hobbies, people, what you eat, etc). I think it’s worth a read, but don’t expect it to be life-changing.
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Surprise! This book is not as much about finding work life balance as finding satisfaction in all the areas of life. How much energy does each of our activities give us? How can we change what we do so we are energized by what we do? Are we living our best life, and if not, how can we improve? I enjoyed this and will look up some of the online resources. The beginning dragged a bit, but it got better after that.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was fantastic. It asked a number of a deep and insightful questions that really did a good job of challenging my perspective and forcing me to address the things that would really make me happy or unhappy. The most interesting aspect of the book was probably where he described the different levels of energy, and how they affected you; I could really relate to that, and I thought it was a great way to spell it out.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
This book has good advice but I didn't appreciate that all the examples of working people gave were men. It was basically implied that all women are stay-at-home moms and that if you are a working mom, you just can't be a good mom. Someone should tell Matthew Kelly that women can work and be good moms. And to start using career women as examples of satisfied and successful people.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What if it’s not about work life balance but about finding satisfaction in life overall. I agree with the author, discussing how work and life bleed together, one impacting the other. A mind shift to think of the priorities in your life and then make sure that you’re making progress towards those priorities. The idea that this leases to satisfaction and then happiness.
Marcus Goncalves
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good book! I caused be to reflect on the importance of managing my energy to be able to accomplish all my goals short and long term. The part of organizing your day and working on important items before they become urgent I was already going, only that I keep my plan in Outlook synced with all y devices, instead of an MS Word file and a paper in my pocket. Worth reading it!
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A compact book of essentials to consider when prioritizing one’s life in order to achieve balance between one’s professional and personal life. There are useful worksheets to discern one’s priorities, as well as lists of tips for creating changes to achieve a life of satisfaction (i.e. accountability, prioritization, and strategizing). A very practical book.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book would make a better article than a book. You know a boom hasn't held your interest when you have to renew it from the library over and over again, and you still haven't finished it by the final due date. The first chapter made for some interesting conversations, but it could have ended there for me.
Brett Anderson
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
"It is not the lazy and the tired who squeeze whole lifetimes into a single summer but rather men and women who are overflowing with energy and enthusiasm for life." - Matthew Kelley, Off Balance
Chris Esposo
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not really that good, if you've attended just one corporate-sponsored productivity program/seminar, this espouses the same rigmarole right down to starting with the businessman meets fisherman story, and goal vs systems thinking. It's walking/jogging fodder, but that's about it.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I wish it had more substance, but what was there was simple, sound advice. 3.5.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Some good things to take from this.
John Lochner
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Want a better understanding of work life balance. Read this
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book on coping with time management and priorities.
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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
“We tend to overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a week.” 5 likes
“we are much more interested in developing self-expression than we are in developing selves that are worth expressing. Personal preference has triumphed over the pursuit of excellence.” 3 likes
More quotes…