Is Work-Life Balance for Real?

Abhishek Shah
3 min readJan 2, 2020

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” — Dolly Parton

“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

Being able to balance work and life is an art, some say. You might work hard, but worry you are missing out on living life, but switching off ‘work mode’ is very tiring as well. The issue, it would seem, is treating ‘work’ and ‘life’ as separate, distinct entities. The idea of dividing time between work and life drives a wedge between both aspects, and inadvertently divide themselves. The underlying idea becomes ‘work v/s life’, leading to constantly choosing between the two, which means that gain for one side, is lost for another.

Ideally, what would work is the spreading of the positives and negatives evenly across life, and tend to place all positives at ‘life’ and all negatives at ‘work’. If this is so, work performance will inevitably suffer, creating a vicious cycle of negativity, leading to people leaning on their ‘life’ aspect of happiness. But this isn’t effective enough because this would mean running away from problems at ‘work’.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are people who put all the positives only in their work life but unfortunately, these people are still stuck in the old on/off the framework.

You are one of the Less than 5% of the population actually experience positivity on both sides.

For the rest of the 95% of the population, here is your solution!

Also Listen: When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good

Recover the sense of a unified self. This will help you dismantle the binary that work/life has become. Positive energy will begin to flow smoothly and effortlessly through your life

To do this, make up a guideline of a unified self, charged with meaning relating directly to who you are and what you care about, and examine your life at work, your leisure time and even your relationships. Check if they are all in sync and align with each other. It should cease to be about balance and become more about alignment.

  • Look again at the positive aspects of your work that might mean something to you, and focus on that.
  • These aspects will be different from whatever you expect out of your ‘life’ and care about in it.
  • Stop treating work and life as two different entities, and rather, arrange the system such that the positives in both support each other.

Also Listen: Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

If this concept of alignment brings about the realisation that your job is the problem, take a moment to either remind yourself of the motivation behind taking up the job, or switch jobs.

Also Listen: Balance: A Practical Handbook and Workbook for Finding Balance During Life’s Difficult Moments

If the latter seems like a better option, it is better to look around for an enjoyable job and creating positivity than staying stuck in a negative job. What matters ultimately is to make the best of both worlds while staying in a positive environment.

You gotta listen:

Enjoy 2 free downloads, with our compliments

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

The Myth of Balance: Thriving in the Tension of Ministry, Work, and Life

Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice

Work-Life Brilliance: Tools to Break Stress and Create the Life and Health You Crave

& my personal favourite: Balance Is BS: How to Have a Work-Life Blend

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Abhishek Shah

Nomad | Early Stage Investor | Wannabe Anthropologist | Technology Evangelist | Curious, Inquisitive & Experimental Entrepreneur