Is Having a Work-Life Balance a Fallacy?

A work-life balance has gained notoriety over the past few years. Having balance wasn't something I considered important — but I have come to realise that I was taking a long term view.

Is Having a Work-Life Balance a Fallacy?

Happy Sunday!

My true feelings around what it means to have a work-life balance have always been something I struggled to articulate — primarily because I don't believe in a work-life balance. I find that work energises me. I switch off and get very bored when I'm not working towards something. It's perhaps a reason why I've never really paid too much attention to a work-life balance.

It's cliché, but Mark Twain's quote comes to mind here.

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
— Mark Twain

But then I heard a quote from a managing director at Goldman Sachs, who put things into perspective for me here. He encourages people to think about work-life balance in months and years, not days and weeks — this has changed everything for me.

I'm no longer concerned about societal pressures in ensuring I leave work on time or take a few days off here and there to recover and avoid burnout. Instead, by taking this long term view on work-life balance, I'm recognising that I'm going to spend a disproportionate amount of time working now, while I don't have a family of my own or any real responsibilities. Later in life, when I do acquire these responsibilities, I'll need to take a step back, and that's where I get my balance.

Think about work life balance in months and years, not days and weeks

Approach my work-life balance like this helps me to feel less guilty for not taking time off to balance my "work" and my "life". For this period at least, there is no balance — and I'm okay with that.

I'm not saying that this approach is right for everyone. Some people will be happier by having that short term work-life balance. Others may find that taking a long term view is best for them. It's entirely personal, but drop me a note to let me know about your approach to having that balance between your work and your life.

Have an awesome week ahead,

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This Week's Wisdom

"When we think about the future, we hope for a future of progress. That progress can take one of two forms. Horizontal or extensive progress means copying things that work—going from 1 to n. Horizontal progress is easy to imagine because we already know what it looks like. Vertical or intensive progress means doing new things—going from 0 to 1. Vertical progress is harder to imagine because it requires doing something nobody else has ever done. If you take one typewriter and build 100, you have made horizontal progress. If you have a typewriter and build a word processor, you have made vertical progress."

—In the book, Zero to One, by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

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