Lets talk about “Work Life Balance”. Talk about one of the most over used phrases in the startup era but definitely a necessary one. So lets break it all down and analyze it.
In this day and age, work has become something that goes beyond the original “9 to 5” culture that has been dominate over the last 60 years (originally coined in the 50s or 60s). We live in a time where most people work between 50 and 60 hours a week, if not more.
If you’re a creative person (not limiting to just creatives though) you’re probably working way beyond that. You come home from work and spend an additional 2-5 hours doing more work. This can be simply just fun side projects, freelance or even some of the work you didn’t finish in the office.
When I worked at my last job, in an agency, I was working 40+ hours a week and then coming home and working an additional few hours each night doing freelance. Back when I was preparing for the launch of Slaptastick, my subscription business, I was working close to 100 hours or more a week.
Talk about burnout right? I recently read an article from The Guardian (2014) which states that we are working harder than we ever have and its killing us and I definitely believe it. We are a generation of workaholics and I will be the first to say that I am definitely a workaholic.
Let me tell you, there is nothing like the feeling of creating something awesome that brings joy to others…Except for one thing and that is the feeling you have when you take a stroll during a beautiful day with bright blue skies and birds chirping.
Its easy for me, and probably a lot of you, to forget that there is this amazing world around us.
The thing that we have to remember is that our work is not our life. Our families, our friends, and most importantly us ourselves are the most important parts of our lives. Unfortunately there are plenty of times that they take the back seat.
Trust me, I’m guilty of this time and time again. I’m sure my fiancé and mom both wish I didn’t work as hard as I do. Not just for their sakes but for mine as well. Working too much can really take the life out of you.
When it comes to life, something that has always stuck with me and helped me take a step back and enjoy life is something pretty trivial, yet powerful. Most of those who really know me, know my love for movies, wouldn’t be surprised that its a movie quote that causes me to do this. The final scene from the film American Beauty (1999), the main character’s final monologue is so very powerful and moving. Take a second and listen for yourself.
Ok so now is where I talk about how to balance both Work and Life, but before I do let me say this. I’m not the best example of a great Work/Life balance. Like I said above, I’m a complete workaholic, but at the same time I also know when to stop and smell the roses.
The important thing to always remember is that work is not the most important thing in the world. The work you do is not important enough for you to neglect yourself or those most important to you.
When I was at my previous job, I let my work compromise my happiness and even my health. It wasn’t until I left the company that I was finally able to get more of a grasp on my life overall. Even to this day, close to 6 months later I’m still working on fixing the damage of that experience on my health and my happiness.
There is also another side to the coin. Sometimes you can let life over power work. We all know this feeling, I can promise you that.
Think about when you get back from vacation and it takes you a few days, a week, hell sometimes even a month to get back into the swing of things. It’s a clear example of when you give life too much slack and your work suffers.
So its perfectly clear that there really does need to be a balance. Otherwise you are left with one of two worlds, the one where you’re working till 5am each night and waking up at 7 to get back to work, or you’re having too much fun enjoying life that you’re losing the grasp of your craft and you become a hippie (no offense to hippies, I love you guys/gals).
In closing, only you can find the true balance of work and life… Good luck!