Tribal Thoughts: Balance is the goal, not productivity alone.

Recently I found myself in a rather familiar spot—bone tired and weary. You likely know the experience: Work all day, head home, eat, chat with your spouse, and then head into the office to work the rest of the night.

Then you get up the next day and repeat the cycle. While the work is good and purposeful, it can occupy too much of our time and energy. I was at the point where I really needed some relief.

So, as I am prone to do, I met with a friend and shared my experience. I told him how I was worn out, tired and weary. He asked me “Why?” and I told him the same old story.

My friend had a great perspective. He reminded me that many of the ancient cultures were built on wisdom and balance, not on productivity.

Balance is the goal, not productivity alone.

I agreed that it made sense. So last week I took the time to help an elderly lady push her car out of the snow, stacked firewood with my dad up north, and planned a trip with my wife.

Balance feels better. But I do miss my iPad.

Change can be difficult.

– matt


by Matt O’Connor

With a background in real estate financing and entitlements, Matt O’Connor primarily works behind the scenes at 616 Development by managing permitting; construction financing; securing municipal and state incentives and financial analysis.


Currently, Matt lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and their two dogs.




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Are you happy with how you are spending your time?

“Are you happy with how you are spending your time?”
Meg Crofton – President of Disney Parks and Resorts in the United States and France.


A small group of people and I had the privilege of hearing Meg speak about her life and career journey. One of the most altering moments in her career was when one of her bosses had asked her the question: “Are you happy with how you are spending your time?”

In an attempt to climb the corporate ladder, she had been working an excessive amount of hours and stretching herself thin. Her inspiring boss challenged her and held her accountable to upholding a personal life. This valuable lesson has molded her into the strong, successful, well-balanced leader she is today.

Meg challenged us with this same question. Could I be more intentional with my time? The answer is absolutely. I then began to contemplate why businesses don’t push this concept. After all, low employee turnover and high satisfaction levels are often a direct reflection of an employee’s happiness and work-life balance.

Harvard Business Journal recently published an article along the same topic, stating: “Leaders can and do engage meaningfully with work, family, and community. They’ve discovered through hard experience that prospering in the senior ranks is a matter of carefully combining work and home so as not to lose themselves, their loved ones, or their foothold on success.”

Businesses that want to create leaders, reduce turnover, and have higher morale should start investing in their employees; starting with holding them accountable to this balanced life style.

Being intentional about how you spend your free time is proven to create better work performance. Yet, why is this concept so quickly pushed aside?

An increase of educational institutes and business leaders are starting to teach this revolutionary idea. As a soon-to-be grad, job hunting for myself has become more than looking for a paycheck. I look for businesses that value work-life balance while challenging me to grow personally and professionally.

I want to be the best person I can be in all facets. That means that my personal life and professional life will, at times, overlap. Up to this point, this has been an unacceptable practice in the business world. We have all heard the phrase, “leave your problems at the door” from an employer. A business that embraces the overlap and challenges employees with balance and personal growth creates stronger and happier individuals, both inside and outside of work.

The catch is that the responsibility of work-life balance falls on the employer and the employee. As a dedicated employee, I owe it to myself, and to my employer, to be intentional about how I spend my free time. After all, it is a win-win scenario.

How about you? Are you happy with how you’re spending your free time? Do you have a healthy work-life balance? Are there changes you need to make?

Do yourself a favor; step back so you can step up!


616 Development 10-10-13


by Jenna Affholter

Jenna Affholter is an important piece of the puzzle as our current 616 Apprentice. While gaining a well-rounded understanding of the world of 616, Jenna’s role is to assist with all things residential. From connecting with prospective residents to leasing apartments to assisting with community creation, Jenna is an exciting addition to 616 Lofts.