The idea of work-life balance is broken

We’re chasing after the wrong kind of harmony.

I blame the marketers.

In the words of an infamous walker of his talk, Gary Vaynerchuk: “Marketers ruin everything”.

It’s not like they lied to you about it. Technically, there’s such a thing as work-life balance. It’s not illusory, but it’s gosh-darn elusive. If we strive hard enough for it, we can have harmony between life and work—a perfect middle.

But it’s missing a crucial element to the equation…YOU.

The Idea of Work-Life Balance is Broken

In our chase for this broken idea of work-life balance, we’re often neglecting ourselves. We forsake our health. We pour all our time and effort into two buckets and overlook the most important one.

We’re too invested in the idea that if we can just have a perfect balance between our work and our personal lives, we will for sure have happiness.

Of course, we’re unconsciously saying no to happiness in the process.

There’s a lesson to take away from this, and it’s one that I myself have recently learned the hard way.

In our chase for this broken idea of work-life balance, we’re often neglecting ourselves.

It’s the first time I’ve booked quite a large sum of freelance contracts in a month. The work is extensive, fun, but admittedly very challenging. On top of that, I’ve been brought on by a tremendous remote, incredibly agile team of web professionals at ClinkIT. The work is also extensive, fun, but admittedly very challenging.

Both posts don’t require me a certain number of hours every day. I’m free to handle time on my own—a skill that I pride myself in saying I’ve mastered.

At home, I’m able to go see my family more often. I even made my partner banana pancakes for breakfast. I recently caught up with friends.

A lot of people don’t tell you this, but making your personal life work feels just that—work.

You make sure your professional and personal life are both sorted out, and that takes a whole lot from your time, energy, and attention.

Some days things just take way too much of you, you just want to be a cat…and purr.

And that’s exactly what happened to me. Fever struck me hard this weekend largely because, between my freelance work, my new job, and my newfound time freedom, I was spread too thin.

And if there’s a greater takeaway here than the overhead sign that says “slow down”, it’s that if I can find time for work and personal life, I should be able to find time for myself.

This isn’t a free pass for laziness or procrastination. It is a necessary pause button when work or life overwhelms—or worse, both. It’s a fail-safe. The skip day in the daily workout sessions.

This is a declaration. That right alongside my ideal work-life setup, I’m also working towards keeping myself healthy and happy.

If you’re reading this, I hope you consider it too.

This post is part of my free weekly newsletter, Work/Life. It’s the newsletter for creative professionals who want to lead equally fulfilling work and life. Use the opt-in form below to subscribe.

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