Why a work-life balance is overrated
Lifestyle December 19, 2022 Wilko van de Kamp
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Calgary is considered to be in an economic crisis right now – and despite that fact I’ve seen a lot of job ads that promise great things, like “being on a winning team” or a “great work-life balance”. It makes me wonder what those statements really mean. Being on a winning team seems to be popular, but I still haven’t figured out what the true meaning of that sentence is – especially in an economic downturn.
Enough with the buzzwords, let’s be real. When a job advertisement speaks of a work-life balance I wonder who is in charge of the time to begin with? I like to think I “own” my borrowed time on this planet, and it’s mine to do with as I please. Seeking out employment is a choice.
Focusing on your personal life alongside your career is a choice as well. An employer promising a good “work-life” balance, in some way, doesn’t seem to understand who the time belongs to. It’s up to you to decide how you split the two, and I recommend you do it wisely and leave enough time for yourself in your schedule.
Tim Ferriss’ book “The Four Hour Workweek” continues to do very well, because the idea of having to work only four hours a week appeals to many people, for a variety of reasons. The majority of employees are unhappy in their dead-end job, with no chance of any improvement or growth anywhere in sight.
In a way Tim’s book is not so much about working four hours, but about being efficient at what you do, and focusing on the things you love. Reduce as much of the overhead as possible by questioning if it really needs to get done. Why are you doing the things you do every day? Does it need to be done at all? If it needs to be done, does it need to be done by you personally, or could it be delegated or outsourced? The more time you free up, the more you can work on your core genius and do the things that you’re really good at, and passionate about.
With that in mind, I don’t need a work-life balance anymore. Most advocates of the work-life balance are out of balance in their own life. They dislike either their job or their life, and overcompensate by focusing on the other end of the spectrum. Many workaholics are unhappy with their personal lives, and many people who seem to party hard, travel a lot, or treat themselves to extravagant luxuries are compensating for a lack of fulfillment in their job, seeking to recharge their battery elsewhere. I used travel for that reason for a long time. I’d go on a trip just to recharge my battery. My job was nothing more but a means to an end, a way to pay for my next vacation.
Life became much more enjoyable when I finally gave up on the illusion of separation between work and life. On most days my vocation feels like a vacation. Time flies when I love what I’m doing. It doesn’t matter whether that’s working on my company, taking a day to go skiing, or riding my motorcycle through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I need happiness in all of those areas to keep my battery charged, which is part of living a complete and balanced life, not an arbitrary separation between work and life. There’s more to life than those two things.
In my Happiness book I share more about the seven areas of life and how setting goals for each of them will help you live a balanced life, without getting trapped in any one or two areas exclusively. Get yourself a copy of the book today through www.freedomprojectbook.com. My books are also available through Amazon, as well as on Amazon. Kindle
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