There's so much talk about work-life balance and compartmentalizing this and compartmentalizing that, but I call bullshit on all of it. The only thing that matters to me is whether or not I'm doing one of two things: 1) finding and fulfilling my purpose and/or 2) effectively using my time to ensure I'll be energized and inspired to do #1.
Everything I do is intentionally done as a multiplying factor because doing things that are additive are a waste of time. 2 + 3 = 5, but 2 x 3 = 6. Why add, when you can multiply? At least that's what I tell myself when I'm combining each of my primary and secondary and tertiary endeavors be it working at Bazaarvoice, producing Style X, serving on the board for nonprofits, advising various leaders in business and politics, speaking to college and high school students, writing for Huffington Post, attending Fashion Week in New York or Lollapalooza in Chicago or even traveling to various cities. These are never standalone or additive activities, but force multipliers.
The things I learn in one arena should always enable me to perform more effectively in another arena; at least more effectively than if I was solely focused on that activity. Blogging is a great example. I know of plenty of people who blog more than 50 percent of their time. I hope I never get there, not because I'm uninterested but because that would mean I'm too busy writing and not nearly busy enough engaging and interacting and seeing and, most importantly, doing the kinds of things and meeting the types of people that lead to great blogs. Doing those things to create good blogs means that you're doing something slightly less authentic than living. You're being social with intent as opposed to being social with purpose. There's a difference.
The difference is what enables me to identify a necessary work trip to London - as I recently had last week for BV - as an opportunity to exchange ideas, learn from industry leaders and expand my horizons. I'm not going to go into all the details of my 9 days in Europe, but I was able to wrap four days of play in London, Barcelona and Paris with five days of work in London and I can't say that one set of experiences didn't fuel or inform the other. These things just can't be separated.
Conversing with friends in Barcelona about fashion then going to a conference with major retailers like Topshop and Marks & Spencer then meeting with Paul Smith's press team and people who work closely with the British Fashion Council then going to Paris and rubbing elbows with Calvin Klein and his friends...all of these things are interconnected and influential upon one another. They are force multipliers.
Addition, like compartmentalization, is a complete waste of time if you're living for exponential return on investment of your time, talent and tactics. Ben Franklin, my ultimate idol, didn't do simple math and neither do guys like Richard Branson and Jay-Z. I might as well practice the same behavior now so I'm living off the profits both personally and professionally later on.
If you ever hear me talk like a Star Wars fanatic and say, "may the force be with you," know that I'm talking about force multiplication. It's the Jedi in me, I guess.