Tag: work life balance

Please Don’t Forget Work Life Balance

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Fingerpaint, an advertising agency here in Saratoga Springs recently published an article about the idea of work life balance on their company blog – here’s a link.

Given my obsession with The Work, this is something of real interest to me. I’m a huge Fingerpaint fan – their offices are beautiful, their work is lovely, and they are great members of the greater Saratoga Springs community. I can see their office from my perch at Sharatoga even!

I think that Jason and I fundamentally agree – life has to be about more than The Work, and the only way that you’re going to find meaning in your life outside of work alone is by pursuing some kind of balance. He says;

Work hard at work but be smart about it and then leave it there.

and

When you’re done you’re done. Go home. Turn it off.

These sound like the kind of things you’d hear from a man who was a strong proponent of finding a work life balance, right? Someone who really believes in keeping work at work. Interestingly, Jason tells us that we should look instead to abandon the idea of a work life balance;

Because no matter how hard you plan, you will never achieve “balance.” You will always regret not spending enough time with your significant other or your kids, or seeing friends or family members. I believe this is something called human nature.

I think this might be where we split in our thinking. I don’t think living without regret and having a job you love are mutually exclusive, and I think that finding some sort of balance between what you do for a living and what you do that really rings your bell is a huge piece of a fulfilling life. If you’re lucky enough to have a job that also helps fulfill you in non-bill-paying ways, even better.

If your work environment is causing you to miss things you’d rather not miss, important things like family events, things that you will regret? That’s either an unhealthy work environment or you have an unhealthy relationship with it. You should find a solution either way.

Leave work at work, definitely. Live in the moment, absolutely. But don’t think for a moment that you need to accept missing out on things that are important to you* – that’s not accepting a brave new world, that’s holding on to The Old Ways.

I’d recommend keeping an eye on this tenuous balance, and protecting it with vigilance and vigor. This is your only life, after all, and work is just work.

 

* – Kids recitals, not Warped Tour dates. Unless you’re playing in the Warped Tour, then that’s pretty cool actually.

 

Work Hygiene

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Not that kind of hygiene.

One of the ways that you can get better sleep is by practicing good Sleep Hygiene – part of the Big Idea is that you need a space that is optimized for sleep. You keep your bedroom for sleeping and restful activity, mostly, which helps to keep your sleep restful and fulfilling.

As a remote worker, it’s easy to carry my work around with me – to the kitchen, into the living room, even out on the porch during the warmer months. My wife, a professor, also tends to do quite a lot of work at home, grading, lecture prepping, etc. We found ourselves in a place where the living room, the kitchen table, and even our bedroom had papers to be graded, power cords, and legal pads covering any available surface.

Starting this week, inspired by the idea of Sleep Hygiene, we’ve started to institute better Work Hygiene – to keep work from encroaching on our non-work spaces, to prevent it from being a constant visual and physical reminder, any time we are doing work in the house, we are doing it in our shared office space. We have two desks, a couch, and plenty of room for both of us to spread out. In fact, we’re both working in here right now. So far, it’s been great – simply pushing all of our physical Work Stuff into one room has reduced mental clutter and distraction from other parts of our life, and also helps us to maintain focus while we’re in the office.

Especially for remote workers, it’s up to you to define your own idea of Work Space – and you should define it with hard edges to avoid work creep, both mentally and physically.